FIA officially rejects Colton Herta superlicence appeal from Red Bull

Sam Cooper
Colton Herta looks sideways. United States, February 2022.

The FIA have announced they have rejected an enquiry in regard to allowing Colton Herta to gain a superlicence.

The American driver is eight points short of the required 40 to earn a superlicence, and thus a place in Formula 1, but Red Bull had looked to the FIA for some leeway in that department.

Red Bull were interested in the services of the 22-year-old Herta who was lined up for as a replacement at AlphaTauri for the departing Pierre Gasly.

Their pleas fell on deaf ears though with news breaking last week that Red Bull had given up the ghost.

The FIA have now released a statement confirming an enquiry had been made, although they did not go as far as to name Red Bull, but that it was rejected.

“The FIA confirms that an enquiry was made via the appropriate channels that led to the FIA confirming that the driver Colton Herta does not have the required number of points to be granted an FIA Super Licence,” a statement read.

“The FIA continuously reviews its regulations and procedures, including with respect to Super Licence eligibility, with the main factors being considered with respect to this topic being safety, experience and performance in the context of the pathway.”

Earlier in the month, an FIA spokesperson told Motorsport.com that the sport’s governing body would “not be pressured by any teams into decisions on matters such as superlicence points.”

With Herta now unavailable, Red Bull appear to have switched their focus to Nyck de Vries who impressed in his F1 debut at Monza driving in the Williams.

Red Bull are reportedly unwilling to let Gasly go until they have a replacement lined up, with the Frenchman widely believed to be on the verge to a move to Alpine where he would partner his compatriot Esteban Ocon.

At least one of the seats at AlphaTauri is confirmed with the team announcing on Thursday that they had extended Yuki Tsunoda’s contract until the end of 2023.

Herta’s immediate future meanwhile remains in IndyCar where he drives for Andretti Autosport.

Speaking earlier this week, the seven-time IndyCar race winner said he was unsurprised by the FIA’s decision as they would not want to “piss off” all the other teams just for one person’s benefit.

“At the end of the day it is the FIA’s decision,” he said. “They listen to the teams a lot but it’s the FIA’s call over superlicences.

“They don’t want to piss off all their team owners and current manufacturers just to accept one more person. It’s a big puzzle with a lot of moving parts.”