Leberer sat down with motorsport.com to reflect on how much the sport has changed since he started in 1988 with McLaren.
When asked how the modern machinery has impacted driver preparation, he said that those with the quickest brains are able to get the edge over the competition, singling out Alonso as the prime example.
"In Formula 1 the technology has been changing so much, it's incredible. But on the other hand, the demands on the drivers are more or less the same, even if they are applied in a different way," he explains.
"I would say these days it's very hard for young drivers on an intellectual level. You have all these systems, strategies, all this technology to get on top of with so little time or testing. To combine all that with your own driving style to bring the performance on the track, this is not easy. They are under a lot of pressure.
"There's so much information coming in while they have to drive and talk on the radio. Just the lap to the grid is a lot. The cognitive taxation these days is extremely high. Initially, some young drivers can completely freeze.
"A good example is Fernando [Alonso]. This guy is incredible. He's from the old school, but he has an incredible capacity. He knows where the other cars are, he knows how long the tyres will last, he knows what everybody's strategy will be.
"You have to have a three-dimensional understanding of what you are doing. If you have to start thinking, it's already too late. And this makes the big difference between the best drivers and the others. They make the right decision at the right time, under pressure.
"This is why they get paid 30 million or more, and others have to pay."
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