As Red Bull wait to find out whether Colton Herta will be awarded a superlicence, the FIA say they will not be influenced on such matters by teams.
Herta has a move to Formula 1 on the table, with Red Bull ready to bring him into the fold and assign him to their sister team, AlphaTauri.
That deal has a direct influence on Pierre Gasly, who is believed to be wanted by Alpine, although Red Bull will only let him out of his contract early if Herta can be signed to replace him.
The issue Red Bull have is that Herta falls short of the 40 points required to earn the superlicence needed to allow him to compete in Formula 1.
Currently, the FIA are assessing whether force majeure could be used to aid Herta’s case, as having an American driver on the Formula 1 grid is an objective for the series.
On the flipside, that would call into question the strength and validity of the superlicence criteria.
However, while the process is ongoing, a spokesperson for the FIA has made it clear no team will influence the case, with it having been widely discussed and commented on in recent weeks.
“The FIA will not be pressurised by teams to make decisions such as points for the superlicence,” a statement to Motorsport.com reads. “The president [Mohammed bin Sulayem] has implemented clear governance and we are following that.”
Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko revealed no decision has yet been made on Herta, although he does not expect to have to wait too much longer for what he still hopes will be a positive outcome.
“No, we don’t have an answer yet,” RACER quote Marko as having told SpeedCity Broadcasting.
“It will be around…latest the end of the month. We are still hopeful.”
Dangerous times for the FIA superlicence system
It is hard to argue the superlicence concept has been positive for Formula 1, a way of making sure drivers are at least of a certain proven standard before entering the elite series, protecting the competitiveness of the grid and also the safety of the drivers.
And while Herta has proven his talents in IndyCar, and so almost certainly is a driver who at least belongs in the conversation for Formula 1, if the FIA find a loophole in their own rules to bring Herta in, more examples can be expected to follow in the future as the message would be given that the rules are not set in stone.
There have been suggestions the points on offer via IndyCar should be beefed up, the series currently alongside Formula 2 as the top awarder, although it would be a bad look if the FIA made such a change simply to get Herta over the line.
Herta finished the 2022 IndyCar season P10 in the standings, which of course played a key role in the current situation as the rules dictate a driver uses their three best results over the past four seasons to create their superlicence points. There can be a point made then for Herta having to earn his way into Formula 1.