Colton Herta targets Alpha Tauri

Colton Herta targets Alpha Tauri

The bad weather 2022 is one of the busiest in recent years in Formula 1. The withdrawal of Sebastian Vettel and the signing of Fernando Alonso by Aston Martin, added to the departure of Oscar Piastri from McLaren, left Alpine without a second driver for 2023 , but the French team seems to have found it: the chosen one is Pierre Gasly, who would leave Alpha Tauri for Enstone.

But the Red Bull structure was quick to find who would be his replacement.. Colton Herta, IndyCar driver for the Andretti team, has all the votes to take the place of the Frenchman in the Faenza team. Own Helmut Marko He confirmed it after the Dutch GP. “Amazingly, all parties involved have come to an agreement,” told reporter Chris Medland.

The American participated in 64 IndyCar races, among which he won seven wins, nine pole positions and finished in the top five 22 times. In addition, Herta already rode in a Formula 1 car last July, when performed a test with the McLaren team at the Portuguese track in Portimao.

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Colton Herta during a test with McLaren. Source: McLaren

Christian Horner he also praises Herta, which he considers “an exciting talent” and a great asset for the expansion of Formula 1 towards the United States: “Having a successful North American driver could be very interesting, also for us in the long term.” There is already an agreement between the driver Andretti and the structure, but there is an obstacle: Colton Herta does not have the necessary points on the super license.

the super license

For a driver to go to Formula 1, You must, among other requirements, accumulate 40 points in the previous three years in the super license. Herta, 22, is currently in his fourth full season in IndyCar: in 2019 he was seventh, in 2020 third, last year fifth and in 2022, with one race remaining, he may be, at most, eighth. Assuming Andretti’s man finishes eighth in the championship, he would have 31 points in the super license, so he would miss nine to complete the necessary ones.

Points awarded in the main categories for the super license.

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Points awarded in the main categories for the super license.FIA

Despite this obstacle, Red Bull is doing everything possible to ensure that the American achieves this. “I think we can show that there is a right”, says Helmut Marko, who hope to have a resolution at Monza. The Austrian team adviser is hiding behind a rule introduced as a result of the pandemic: “Because of COVID, there is a special regulation that allows three of the last four years to be used. Additionally, they also give points if for reasons beyond a driver’s control they did not reach the maximum score. It’s nothing irrational. He won seven races at Indy, which is comparable to grand prix racing. It would be a shame.”

For his part, Horner asks that everything be clarified as soon as possible: “It’s an FIA problem. We just need clarity on the driver’s points because it plays a very important role in the driver market. Hopefully it will be resolved as soon as possible.” he said when asked about Sports car after the race in Zandvoort. If in the end Herta does not reach Faenza, Pierre Gasly would continue at Alpha Tauri, since he has a contract until the end of 2023.

The FIA ​​is not for the job

Stefano Domenicali, managing director of Formula 1, seems unfavorable to granting the super license to Herta: “You have to follow the rules. Of course, American pilots are very important to us. If he fulfills the necessary conditions, getting the necessary points, that would be great news, but there are rules and a protocol to follow,” the Italian says in Sports car. Some team leaders on the grid, like Gunther Steiner, Frédéric Vasseur or Toto Wolff also spoke out against it. That of Mercedes advocates “a better score for Indy”, but that “the point system is there for a reason”.

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