‘Colton Herta isn’t going to embarrass himself in Formula 1’

Thomas Maher
Colton Herta deserves superlicence over Nikita Mazepin

April 25, 2021, St. Petersburg, FL, USA: ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 25: Colton Herta, driver of the #26 Gainbridge Andretti Autosport Honda, celebrates after winning the Firestone Grand Prix of St.Petersburg on April 25, 2021 on the Streets of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire) (Credit Image: © David Rosenblum/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Sky F1 broadcaster Ted Kravitz believes Colton Herta should be given an FIA superlicence, due to his status as a multiple IndyCar race winner.

Seven-time IndyCar race winner Colton Herta is on the verge of landing a Formula 1 seat for 2023, if Red Bull are successful in convincing the FIA to grant him a superlicence.

Herta, the 22-year-old IndyCar sensation, has been all but confirmed as an AlphaTauri driver for next season, with Helmut Marko revealing the signing is contingent on the FIA turning a blind eye to Herta’s lack of superlicence points.

A superlicence is required by any driver to race in Formula 1, with drivers being eligible for one dependent on their successes in other categories over the prior three seasons.

As it stands, Herta doesn’t have the required 40 points over three years, due to the low weighting the FIA award to the IndyCar championship in their superlicence structure – the series being given lower weighting than the FIA-ran Formula 2 category.

But, despite the fact Herta doesn’t meet the requirements for an FIA licence, Red Bull are pushing to make the switch as they hope to convince the FIA that a seven-time IndyCar Grand Prix winner is more than capable of racing in F1.

Herta’s most recent victory came at the Indy Grand Prix at Indianapolis in May, and he is currently 10th in the IndyCar Drivers’ Championship – he finished fifth in the 2021 title battle.

Ted Kravitz: Colton Herta isn’t going to be a danger on track

Certainly, Sky’s Ted Kravitz agrees with Red Bull’s reasoning, as he explained on the channel’s Any Driven Monday after the Dutch GP weekend.

“This superlicense thing was brought in basically to give a bit more credit to the likes of Formula 4, F3, and F2, and to make sure that there aren’t any drivers who weren’t prepared for Grand Prix racing,” Kravitz explained.

Colton Herta watches on during Indy 500 qualifying. United States May 2021
Colton Herta watches on during Indy 500 qualifying. United States May 2021

“Well, [IndyCar] is not a Formula 1 Grand Prix, but it is a Grand Prix and Colton Herta has won seven of them. He’s ready. He’s competent, he’s able to do it. He’s not gonna embarrass himself. He’s not gonna be a danger to anybody, himself or otherwise, no problems with that.

“So this is just a little bit of tinkering around how many years you can count, how many series you can count.

“Whilst Stefano Domenicali from Formula 1 was saying that we have to stick to the rules, I think there’s a middle way here that Red Bull should be able to get both to happen.

“I think, with COVID, there was a little bit of relaxation of the rules of super license points. You could take some from one year, you could take some from the other year. I think that’s what Red Bull are trying to do, to convince the FIA to have a little bit of latitude, a tiny bit of latitude, and that will mean that we get an American driver, an exciting American driver back in F1.”

‘Red Bull consider Colton Herta an exciting talent’

Christian Horner explained, over the Zandvoort weekend, that the intention to release Pierre Gasly to Alpine is contingent on the FIA conceding to allow Herta into F1.

Kravitz believes that Horner’s stance shows just how much confidence Red Bull have in the driver, given they’re the team that brought the precocious Max Verstappen into the sport eight years – the Dutch driver being far less experienced at racing car level than Herta at the time.

“Christian Horner was quite clear about it on the weekend: ‘We will only let Pierre Gastly go to Alpine, if we have something truly exciting, someone truly exciting to put in his place’,” Kravitz said.

“So [Red Bull] clearly think Colton Herta is an exciting talent in Formula 1. If he is, I think we need to have him in there, and let’s get around the superlicense issue because it’d be great for everybody to have him competing in F1.”