Herta’s professional approach and physical preparation impressed McLaren – Seidl

2022 F1 season

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McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says the team were “quite impressed” by IndyCar driver Colton Herta after he completed a two day test with them this week.

Herta, who currently races for the Andretti team in IndyCar, ran 162 laps for a total of 750 kilometres behind the wheel of a 2021 MCL35M across the two day test around the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao.

The test was conducted under Formula 1’s testing with previous cars regulations (TPC) and was the first time that the American had driven a Formula 1 car since signing a development deal with McLaren earlier this year. Seidl says that the two day test was simply aimed at acclimatising the 22-year-old to Formula 1 machinery.

“The objective for this test was to give Colton the chance to experience a Formula 1 car for the first time and explore its performance,” Seidl explained. “And that was the focus.

“When you do these two test days, there’s different testing objectives, obviously. First and foremost, giving Colton the chance to get used to the car, but then also switching focus on working on different driving techniques. For example, getting used to the different operational aspects of a Formula 1 race weekends, like comparing different tyre compounds, running at different fuel loads as well, quali runs to race simulation-like runs as well.

“I have to say, the team was quite impressed how Colton was dealing with all these challenges and with his professional approach.”

Seidl says that Herta’s thorough preparation for the test enabled him to get up to speed quickly and appeared fit enough to handle the over two race distances he covered.

“What was great to see as well was that his physical preparation was enabling him to really keep going throughout the two days, knowing how challenging this can be in a Formula 1 car on a track like Portimao,” Seidl said.

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“In the end, this approach allowed him really to build up pace quite early, gain confidence and also finding always the right balance between taking risk and still keeping the car on the track, which is obviously important as well on a test like this. So, very happy with how the test went.”

McLaren will now analyse the data generated from Herta’s test in order to help them decide whether they want to run him in one of the two Friday practice rookie driver slots that all teams are required by the regulations to do this season.

“In the next days the team will go through the data in detail,” he said. “We’ll get an initial idea of the potential Colton has shown in our car and then we will have a better picture or a good idea. That will obviously be part of our evaluation as well for how the next potential steps could look like.

“As you know, we are obliged by the regulations that we have to run a Formula 1 rookie two times this year in a free practice one session. We plan to do that at the race weekends at some point after the summer break. So we still have time in order to decide when we actually do that and who we put in the car. That’s a process we’re in the next weeks.”

Herta is not the only current IndyCar driver to have tested with McLaren over the last year. In December’s end of season test in Abu Dhabi around the Yas Marina Circuit, the team ran their McLaren SP driver Patricio “Pato” O’Ward over one day of the two day test. McLaren are considering offering future opportunities to the Mexican driver, says Seidl

“Regarding further test opportunities for Pato, it’s something we are evaluating at the moment. He had a good test with us last year in Abu Dhabi. We were very happy as well with how Pato was preparing himself for that test, how he was, performing then throughout the test.

“I would say the initial impression or conclusion – even if it sounds like a boring answer – I’m happy with what both guys have shown so far.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Herta’s professional approach and physical preparation impressed McLaren – Seidl”

  1. I guess this is a good sign but sounds like it’s just an initial observation and compared to O’Ward and others.. I guess we’ll know the outcome when McLaren announces which junior get a FP1 drive.

    Imagine how cool would it be to fly into Portugal and drive a modern F1 car 750km for two days on a one track just for you?
    There’s a lot of many successful race car drivers in the world who never get that chance. It’s pretty special.

    1. If I am not mistaken, we got similar accounts of being impressed by his attetude etc about O’Ward last year when he ran in a McLaren for the first time @redpill.

      But yeah, it is a really nice thing to get / have earned.

  2. Of course, it’s the typical boiler plate type comments teams make to the press after a junior test drive, like O’Ward’s. Public wont really know what they think until McLaren choose’s a junior driver to take over one of the coveted F1 seats full time. Upcoming FP1’s are still no guarantee to a full time seat but it’s a start.

  3. So he was;
    – doing many Laps
    – prOffesional
    – but we Will analyse the data and see

    1. “impressed” and “quality” have a generic tone that demands some modification for its true meaning to reveal.
      Saying “a quality product” might means a bad or a good quality.
      A driver can impressed the teams principal by being below what they expected.
      If reporters dont clarify, it will remain open to interpretation.

      1. The above comments sound really negative, I don’t know why. This guy is a special talent already proven in indycar, where often ex F1 drivers struggle. McLaren is in a great position to bring American based star drivers into F1, drivers the other teams completely ignore and just focus on F3 and F2 drivers. F1 needs talent scouts like in the NBA, to check on the up and comers all over the world, like in super formula in Japan, DTM, Indy lights etc. Why is latiffi still in F1? How come Schumacher jr got endless opportunities to show he can be fast in f1 (took him like 30 races, where other drivers would be fired after 8 in previous years. Watching all types of motorsport, I bet Herta would do better in F1 and provide bably instantly than the likes of Tsunoda and Stroll

        1. *probably

        2. Well to me the one thing lacking in this press release was that “he’s fast”

          I know how hard it probably is to judge him when he’s the only one at the track, but if I look back, all the big talents never got compliments for their professionalism but for their speed

          The fact that some not superfast ex f1 drivers have a hard time in Indy, doesn’t make Herta a mega talent.

          However, I actually don’t know. But for me if he was really fast, they would’ve included that in their press release … which they didn’t, hence my comment

        3. I don’t know…mega F1 talents like Rossi, Sato, Ericcson and Romain have all either dominated or at least won in Indy Car. Has he proven himself as good as the likes of Sato?!

    2. Nah, impossible.
      They couldn’t use the word “FAST” because the entire world know Ricciardo’s problem is being “SLOW”. The correspondence between such two opposing thoughts would’ve been striking.

  4. This is just a typical PR statement and nothing more. Everyone is always impressed and yada, yada, yada. They’ll keep their true opinion to themselves. Today we get shocked when someone says something genuine (like about Ricciardo’s underpeforming, when it was almost seen as mobbing, or at least very cruel thing to say). I suppose Herta did well, I just mean to say that listening to team bosses talking about their (potential) drivers is a waste of time, they will always say the same things, almost word for word. We (fans) didn’t learn a thing from this test, as expected, but I am curious and wish to see some of young Indy drivers in F1, in a race.

  5. Mark in Florida
    15th July 2022, 16:53

    Come on guys! Herta doesn’t have a chance at all to drive in F1. He doesn’t have the super license points to participate and the FIA are not likely to give him any dispensation to aquire one. I think he was there to benchmark Daniel. That’s all. Pato did it last year now Herta is doing it. Zac is checking all the boxes to make sure letting Daniel go is the right choice. It’s been fun for Herta but his place is in America. Just ask the FIA.

  6. In a Formula 1 world that includes the likes of Nicolas Latiffi and Lance Stroll, the amount of hate that Herta gets from comments in sites like these is unreal. Clearly the classic anti-American bias is very much far of the sport.

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