Who is Colton Herta and why does Red Bull Racing want him in Formula 1?

Helmut Marko, advisor to Red Bull Racing, indicated at Zandvoort that a deal was imminent to bring IndyCar driver Colton Herta to the Formula 1 grid in 2023, provided the FIA ​​would like to make an exception regarding his super licence. So the plan still suffers from some obstacles. In addition, the Austrian squad includes five young players in Formula 2, so what makes Herta so special?

Colton Thomas Herta is a 22-year-old American driver who is regarded as one of the greatest young talents at the moment. In 2018, he drove his first race in the NTT IndyCar Series, the largest racing series in the United States. A year later, he debuted as a full-time driver on the network. He drove for the Harding Steinbrenner Racing team and took his first victory by fire at the IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas. At the age of eighteen, Hertha became the youngest driver to win in this category. Later that year, he won another race. In 2020, Herta continued driving for the same racing stable, but now with the support of Andretti Autosport. At Mid-Ohio, he won his third race and finished third in the championship with seven top five spots in 14 laps.

Successes in IndyCar

The following year, he was logically recognized as one of the contenders for the title. Herta turned into Andretti Autosport. It’s been a tough season for the young American due to a combination of misfortune and poor strategies, but despite those setbacks, he has racked up a total of three wins. At the end of last year, there was a lot of speculation that Herta would move to Formula 1 in 2022, but he eventually continued his partnership with Andretti Autosport for another year. At the time of writing, he is eighth overall and has added one win to his resume. This brings his winning total to an impressive seven.

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dance chair

Herta is backed by the McLaren Formula 1 team, where he has a Formula 1 contract as a test driver until the end of 2024. He drove a three-day test in Portimao in July in the team car 2021. Now that McLaren has stolen Oscar Piastre, another great talent, in front of the mountains Alps, the team doesn’t seem to have a seat available at the moment. This is not necessarily bad news for Hertha, as Red Bull Racing has shown an outspoken interest in the young American. They would like to see him drive an AlphaTauri in 2023, on the condition that Pierre Gasly leave for the Alps. In short, Red Bull Racing is open to letting Gasly (who is out of Red Bull’s training program) go, should another great talent take his place.

super license

However, the plan to get Herta into Formula 1 still has a number of hurdles, and surprisingly the stumbling block is not in the contract territory. Marko said in Zandvoort that agreements with Andretti and McLaren had already been made, but the green light still had to come from the FIA. Herta does not have a super license, and this is a requirement to be allowed to drive in Formula 1. Drivers are entitled to a super license if they have collected 40 license points. These points can be earned in FIA-recognised racing classes, or by completing free Formula 1 training sessions.

obstacle

However, the hitch for Herta is that although the FIA ​​awards points to IndyCar drivers, this is much lower than in other racing classes. For example, you only get 10 points on your license if you finish fourth in the American racing category, and you get 30 if you finish fourth in Formula 2. You realize that this way it is very difficult for foreign drivers to compete in it with first-class drivers. who follow the “traditional path”. Herta Palace is currently eight points, and given his eighth place in the championship, it looks like he will be hunting behind the net. He can be allowed by AlphaTauri or Red Bull to practice freestyle, but he is awarded a maximum of three points per season.

creative math

However, there is still hope, because Hertha’s arrival will not bode well for the FIA ​​itself. Formula 1 is now more popular than ever in the United States. This is largely due to the Netflix series Drive to Survive, and the American driver on the network would be a nice bonus money. It is said that the motorsports body is ready to think. With a number of creative accounts, Herta can still reach the required forty points.

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile

However, this is another kick into the painful phase for a number of Formula 1 teams, as a lot of time and money is being invested in driver training in Formula 2 and Formula 3. Marko expects the FIA ​​to have a definitive answer these days. Will come. If the athlete’s body gives the green light, it will suddenly take off quickly. As the Austrian himself said, all agreements are ready to be signed, so press releases from Red Bull, AlphaTauri, Alpine and Andretti will follow each other in quick succession.

Red Bull Juniors

Why is Red Bull interested in Herta? Yes, he’s an amazing talent, but there are currently five Red Bull junior players in Formula 2. Liam Lawson, Dennis Hoger, Jehan Daruvala, Juri Phipps (excluded from the program but will be supported by Red Bull this year) and Ayumu Iwasa all represent the beverage giant. Energy is in the climbing category. Lawson is perhaps the greatest talent of these men. He completed free practice on behalf of AlphaTauri at Spa and is a reserve driver for the Formula 1 team, but is currently losing to teammate Logan Sargeant and has yet to win a distinguished race. None of these engines come close to the Herta in terms of performance.

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