F1 move now ‘time-sensitive’ for big US star as key career moment approaches

Henry Valantine
F1 hopeful Colton Herta celebrates. Monterey, California, USA. September, 2021

Colton Herta celebrates as Michael Andretti claps next to him.

Colton Herta has admitted that a move to F1 is now “time-sensitive”, as his age is now approaching a crossover point where he may get too old to make a natural progression.

The highly-rated IndyCar star turns 24 in March, still young by anyone’s standards in motorsport, but most rookies in F1 in the present day tend to have made the jump into the category by this point in their career.

The American driver had been on the radar of AlphaTauri before the team signed Nyck de Vries, but did not have the required FIA Super Licence points to be able to move across.

Colton Herta ‘at the highest age I could go to F1’ without Andretti arrival

Seven-time IndyCar race winner Herta’s name has come up alongside Alex Palou and Patricio O’Ward as young talents in the American series touted for potential F1 drives, but so far none have come to pass on a permanent basis.

Michael Andretti, who is still working in the background to get Andretti Autosport onto the Formula 1 grid, has been vocal about wanting an American driver in his car if he makes it into the sport – previously dubbing Herta his “number one choice” if his team is accepted.

But for Herta himself, he admitted that time may not be on his side.

“You know, I think it’s [something] very time-sensitive,” Herta told reporters ahead of the 24 Hours of Daytona, as quoted by the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com.

“I’m probably at the highest age where I could go there with a team besides Andretti.”

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When asked about the current status of the Andretti bid, which has received initial FIA approval before talks with Formula One Management [FOM], Herta explained that there is nothing new for now.

Andretti is still targeting a 2025 entry into F1 if possible, but Herta is keeping an open mind for as and when a Formula 1 seat may come up, though his priority remains with his current drive in IndyCar.

“I have nothing to report on the Andretti side. I think their goal is still to get a Formula 1 team, and they’re still trying,” he said.

“If that happens, we’ll have to see what the timeframe will be, how old I’ll be and where I’ll be in my life at that point.

“For me, the main focus right now really is IndyCar, and we’ll see where it goes.”

Herta is preparing to partner 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button at the 24 Hours of Daytona this coming weekend, the pair set to race alongside Louis Delétraz and Jordan Taylor in the Andretti-associated Wayne Taylor Racing car in the GTP class.

A host of former F1 drivers are also in the field this weekend, with the likes of Felipe Massa, Marcus Ericsson, Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Bourdais and Gianmaria Bruni all involved, among others.

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