Red Bull had interest in signing Colton Herta for F1 in 2023; The FIA won’t allow it
Colton Herta has won 7 Indycar races over his five year career. However, he’s still not adequate for F1, per a goofy licence system that’s extra difficult on American drivers.
Red Bull was interested in signing Herta to drive for their AlphaTauri team in 2023. The team noted that Herta would replace Pierre Gasly, if Herta could meet requirements.
This week, the team announced they have abandoned those efforts.
In order to race in F1, Harta needed the mandatory superlicence. 40 points would have granted him the licence automatically. However, results from Indycar only offered 32 of the 40 points.
Despite this, Red Bull requested an exemption from the FIA. That request has been denied.
Had Herta won the Indycar championship, he would have earned enough points. Options remained for Herta to race in several international winter series to obtain additional points. However, Red Bull had opted not to use that option due to risks.
Both the F2 and Indycar champion earn enough points to automatically claim a superlicence. Yet, from 2nd place down, less points are offered to Indycar drivers over the F2 standings. The FIA gives more weight to F2 competition.
Had Herta left his Andretti contract in Indycar, then also not reached the points required for a superlicence, then he would have been out of an Indycar ride as well as a F1 ride in 2023.
“It’s a shame that people don’t realize what value an American driver, especially a guy like Colton Herta, would have for the booming American market, especially with three F1 races,” Helmut Marko of Red Bull Racing told Motorsport-Total.
Zak Brown comments
“I think the whole licensing system needs to be reviewed,” McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown stated at Laguna Seca.
“I get that the rules are what the rules are and that rules shouldn’t be broken, but I question whether just because those are the rules that are in place now that those are the correct rules.
“Someone of Colton’s caliber, or Pato’s caliber or half the [IndyCar] field are Formula 1 capable.
“If someone like Colton who’s won a lot of IndyCar races isn’t eligible for a superlicence then I think we need to review the superlicence system.”
“I don’t think Max Verstappen would have been eligible for a superlicence, I don’t think Kimi Raikkonen would have been eligible for a superlicence,” Brown added as both of those drivers skipped F2.
Graham Rahal comments
“F1 is an elitist sport. They don’t want us. Remember that,” Graham Rahal stated via social media.
“They want US companies money, they want wealthy US individuals money. But they don’t care about the rest. Always has been that way, always will be.”
“And for those who want to say that Colton Herta didn’t ‘earn’ the right. You’re off base. He’s as talented if not more than the rest. He’s a proven winner. He came to the top, and has done exceptionally well. F1 has had ride buyers for years who don’t hold a candle to CH. FACTS!”
Alexander Rossi comments
Rossi competed in F1 back in 2015. He’s since made the move to Indycar.
“I’ve kept my mouth shut long enough, so here goes,” Alexander Rossi opened via social media.
“I’m so sick and tired of this back and forth regarding super licence points. The whole premise of it was to keep people from buying their way into F1 and allowing talent to be the motivating factor. That’s great.”
“We all agree Colton has the talent and capability to be in F1. That’s also great and he should get that opportunity if it’s offered to him. Period.”
“Motorsport still remains as the most high profile sport in the world where money can outweigh talent. What is disappointing and in my opinion, the fundamental problem, is that the sporting element so often took a backseat to the business side that there had to be a method put in place in order for certain teams to stop taking drivers solely based on their financial backing.”
“Ultimately, these past decisions, whether out of greed or necessity, is what cost Colton the opportunity to make the decision for himself as to if he wanted to alter career paths and race in F1. Not points on a licence.”