Herta emerges as shock front-runner for Alfa Romeo seat

Mark Scott
Colton Herta IndyCar driver. October 2021

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda waves after winning the 46th Annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach 2021 NTT Indy Car series. October 2021

Breakthrough IndyCar star, Colton Herta, has emerged as a shock front-runner for the remaining seat at Alfa Romeo, according to Diario Motorsport.

The driver who will partner Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo is the last remaining piece of the 2022 puzzle to solve and, as a result, the battle over it is a fiercely competitive one.

Current driver Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire, Alpine academy product Guanyu Zhou and F2 leader Oscar Piastri have all been on the shortlist in the last few months, but they could all be jumped in the queue by the 21-year-old Andretti driver, Herta.

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According to well-respected Brazilian reporter, Américo Teixeira Jr, who is also press officer for another Indycar driver in Helio Castroneves, Herta’s arrival in Formula 1 will come as a result of a heavily-rumoured takeover by Michael Andretti which will see him take a controlling stake in parent company Sauber.

Andretti is widely reported to be closing in on an 80 per cent stake in Sauber’s ownership company Islero Investments, which would enable Andretti to take full control of Sauber’s racing and engineering arms.

Alfa Romeo team boss, Frederic Vasseur, did not want to be drawn into commenting on the rumours about a takeover when quizzed by the press in Istanbul.

“I can say nothing because honestly it’s not in my parameter,” Vasseur said.

“I’m the CEO and team principal and these kind of discussions is not with me, it would be with the shareholders and that we have so many rumours and so on that you have to ask the question to the shareholders of the company.”

Back to the topic of Herta’s potential arrival, he currently falls short of the magic 40 superlicense points required to be eligible for Formula 1.

With 32 superlicense points accumulated over the last three seasons in IndyCar, Herta would need some FP1 outings before the 2021 season is completed.

However, because he has reached 30 points, he is eligible to receive special dispensation from the FIA to join the 2022 grid.

Speaking in September last year about a potential move to Formula 1, Herta said: “I’d love to give Formula 1 a crack.

“I think it would have to mean either being with a top-three team or incentives of, if I do good enough, getting to a top-three team.

“So being at Alfa Romeo or something like that for a year or two and if I do good enough, maybe I can move up to a Ferrari or a Red Bull.”


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