Red Bull is aiming for the IndyCar champion to move to F1 in 2023, but plans have stalled over issues with his mandatory super licence.
Hertha has only 32 of the 40 points he needs to get his autonomous driving licence, and Red Bull’s push for the FIA to grant him a special exemption looks set to fail.
While avenues still exist for Herta to gain the necessary points – possibly by taking part in one of several international winter series – Red Bull does not think it is worth wasting extra time on this route.
One risk is that if he is unlucky in the winter series of his choice, he may not get the points he needs, which will put him and AlphaTauri in a bind for the first few weeks of the season .
In an interview with Motorsport.com’s sister site Motorsport-Total, Helmut Marko said the failure of the Herta plan meant F1 missed an opportunity to generate additional interest in the US market.
“It’s a shame that people don’t realize what value American drivers, especially people like Colton Hertha would have, to the booming American market, especially in the three in an F1 race,” Marko said.
Red Bull did everything in their power to ease Herta’s road, even getting involved in helping arrange his private test at Alpine next week.
However, with the FIA saying it will not budge on the super-licensing issue, it makes no sense for Red Bull to now decide to go ahead with its original plan.
Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Helmut Marko, Advisor, Red Bull Racing
Photo by Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
It is understood that Herta’s race against Alpine has been officially cancelled as the F1 seat has been cancelled.
Marko says winner of seven IndyCar races must prove he is eligible to drive Formula 1 safely due to bureaucratic points system, especially since he has easy access to some free practice sessions , further preparations for his first game.
And the fact that Red Bull didn’t want to spend more time trying to overcome the superlicense situation, and the pressure on Hertha’s Andretti team to make a final decision.
IndyCar needs to know if it has to find a replacement for Hertha by 2023, and he doesn’t want to be on top if a final decision is made in a few weeks’ time.
Also, if Herta ends his deal with Andretti early, risking his pursuit of F1 and then failing to get a super licence, he may have nowhere to go next year.
While Red Bull have said before that if Hertha doesn’t get it, Pierre Gasly will be left at AlphaTauri, the possibility of a deal for the Frenchman with Alpine has not been ruled out.
However, AlphaTauri needs a suitable replacement, otherwise Marko, who will make the final decision, will not approve.
According to information from Motorsport-Total.com, a possible Gasly successor will not be from the team’s own junior convoy.
Liam Lawson got his first FP1 experience at Spa but didn’t push for an upgrade to the regular cockpit. It will take time for Jehan Daruvala (Formula 2 P6), Ayumu Iwasa (9th) and Dennis Hauger (11th).
“The possibilities are now being assessed,” Marko said, referring to the second AlphaTauri cockpit.
One thing is certain. Mick Schumacher was not among the candidates under consideration.
If no suitable candidate is found, Gasly will have to stay with AlphaTauri for another year before his current Red Bull contract expires.