Red Bull halts effort to bring Herta into F1 next year

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In the round-up: Red Bull has abandoned its efforts to place Colton Herta at junior team AlphaTauri next year, Helmut Marko has said.

In brief

Red Bull gives up on efforts to secure superlicence for Herta

Red Bull has abandoned its efforts to place Colton Herta at junior team AlphaTauri next year, Helmut Marko has told Motorsport Total.

The team was eager to find a place for 22-year-old Herta, IndyCar’s youngest ever race winner, who finished third in the championship two years ago. However the weighting of the FIA’s superlicence points system means he is currently ineligible to race in F1, a fact Marko described as “incomprehensible”.

Herta’s planned test with Alpine next week will not go ahead, the report claims. However Red Bull may still release Pierre Gasly to join Alpine if it finds a suitable candidate to join Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri next year.

D’Ambrosio departs Maserati Formula E team

Jerome D’Ambrosio will not remain in his role as team principal of Maserati Formula E team when it completes its transition from Venturi for the 2023 season, the team has announced.

The former F1 driver took over role of team principal of the Venturi Formula E team from Susie Wolff at the start of the 2022 season, with Wolff moving to CEO. After Wolff confirmed she would be stepping down from her CEO role at the end of the most recent season which ended in August, the team’s owners Monaco Sports Group confirmed that D’Ambrosio had departed the team on “amicable terms”.

The Venturi team enjoyed their best season in the series in 2022, finishing runner-up in the teams’ championship, taking five wins – four for Edoardo Mortara and one for Lucas di Grassi.

Rasmussen wins F1 Esports race three from pole

Red Bull racer Frederik Rasmussen converted his first pole position of the season into his first victory in race three of the Formula 1 Esports Pro championship held around Silverstone.

Rasmussen took pole ahead of Haas rookie Thomas Ronhaar and Sebastian Job. Starting on the hard tyres before switching to mediums, Ronhaar chased Rasmussen for the entire race but could not make a move on the leader and had to settle for second, six tenths of a second behind the Danish driver.

Championship leader Lucas Blakeley completed the podium to add 15 points to his lead in the drivers’ standings. The McLaren Shadow driver now sits on 65 points after three rounds, 21 ahead of Rasmussen in second and Ronhaar third. Reigning double champion Jarno Opmeer sits fourth or 28 points.

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Comment of the day

Silverstone’s approach to selling tickers for next year’s British Grand Prix has come under heavy criticism for fans due to connection problems and rapidly fluctuating ticket prices. Reader @3dom shares their experience.

Silverstone have introduced repulsive dynamic pricing, that increases seemingly by the minute. After being in a virtual queue for hours yesterday, we got to the paying stage and the system crashed when we tried to pay. Silverstone suspended the ticket sale until today, saying that the booking system was fixed. We have managed to book the exact same seats that we had selected yesterday but are now have to pay an extra £200 for our tickets just because the booking system is not fit for purpose. Appalling!!!

The difficulty booking was bad enough, but the “dynamic pricing” during the day is disgusting! I could understand prices changing after days or weeks of being able to purchase, but to do this to fans when we’re queuing for tickets because the booking system can’t keep up leaves an incredibly bad taste.

We have been attending the Grand Prix for years but after this we’re going to have to seriously think about whether we will again.

We should be excited about having booked, that’s the way we’ve felt in the past. Instead we feel shafted.

Have you had similar problems trying to book tickets for the British Grand Prix? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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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...

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44 comments on “Red Bull halts effort to bring Herta into F1 next year”

  1. That Silverstone booking system sounds appalling.

    Can someone please explain what the fascination is with Herta. Is it the fact that he has a cool name, or comes from the US? His driving record doesn’t seem to be all that great in terms of results.

    1. I have to say that the same thought had crossed my mind.

    2. My understanding is, from what little I have seen, that Herta is foremost a promising US talent seemingly good enough for F1. With three races in the US it’s starting to become ridiculous that there isn’t a US driver on the F1 grid, I think there should be even with no races in the US really. Herta may not have a super-substantial CV yet, but he is still young and developing, and what is on there is well above average at that point I’d say. He also seem to be a likeable guy with a spectacular driving style, which both helps a lot.
      That he doesn’t qualify for a SuperLicense is just sad. I understand why the system is there for acquiring one, but really it needs to be done differently. To me, getting a SuperLicense should be about proving that you can behave yourself on track amongst other cars, both in terms of being in control of a high-performance vehicle and respecting rules and safety, and that you are not a bad driver. If you are winning races and regularly fight at the front in a well recognized series, surely you can’t be a bad driver. Even if you haven’t won the series yet.

      1. With three races in the US it’s starting to become ridiculous that there isn’t a US driver on the F1 grid

        It’s almost like the Middle East; many races no local drivers.

        I agree that it’s disappointing that there is no talented driver from the US in F1 (we have three from North America though). But it should be based on talent rather than FIA points or passport.

        1. They could petition the FIA to grant a superlicense to Saudi Arabian racer Aseel Al Hamad

        2. If talent were the only condition, Herta and other drivers should be in F1 instead of several of the current drivers, but things are more complicated.

    3. Having watched IndyCar for the first time this year I get why they want Herta and I probably wouldn’t have done had I not watched it. First thing to say is that Indycar is often called a spec series but it’s not really – it’s a sort of half spec series. It still matters what car you’re in and Herta’s team Andretti have not given him a car worthy of fighting for championships.
      Secondly Indycar is a lot more ‘random’ than F1. For example the Indy 500 (a race more to do with luck than anything else) was won by Ericsson which put him in with a serious chance of the title this year as it awards double points. Also there’s a lot of variation on whether a car suits a track – sometimes Herta’s Andretti team turned up with a car capable of winning and others it would be impressive to get 12th place. So consequently his position in the championship doesn’t tell the whole story.
      What is obvious if you’ve watched the races is that he has talent – on occasions he was able to outclass the entire field (notably the Indy road course). He does however make a lot of mistakes – he looks like he’d be a Montoya/2016 Verstappen at first in F1 but I guarantee he’d be exciting. In time I think he’d develop into a very high level driver.
      I think the FIA has tied themselves in a knot with this. Their super license system should not prevent somebody that’s competed at the top of Indycar for multiple years from competing in F1 but to change the rules specifically for Herta would have made a mockery of them – despite their own desire for an American driver.

      1. All of this +1000.

        A lot of people on here just look at the championship tables and say ‘he can’t be that good’ which in this specific debate really annoys the hell of of me. Surely if 2 F1 teams whose job it is to find the best F1 drivers they can were willing to invest time and money in evaluating him then surely that means they see something other than championship results.

        It would be like someone saying Kubuca must be better than Russell as he scored more points then him in the same car.

    4. His career in the juniors was impressive– he rose rapidly to full IndyCar drive, and won his second race at CotA in his first full season. He’s very, very fast, although there has been (in my opinion) a tendency to crash by pushing his car that last 1%.

      All in all, he’s a promising driver. But he’s not the only IndyCar driver that could make a step over to F1. I’d genuinely love for someone to give Josef Newgarden a test. Anyone who can pull off 4 separate clean overtakes at the corkscrew at Laguna Seca deserves serious respect.

      Alexander Rossi has shown what he can do with a good car and team behind him. Grosjean has proved his spatial awareness is still a bit…. questionable. :)

      I’m genuinely enjoying the road courses in IndyCar– I highly recommend it. The recent Monterey Grand Prix highlights are on Youtube, and worth watching.

    5. Herta is the best American open-wheel driver under the age of 30 potentially available to Red Bull.

      He’d fulfil the same role as Tsunoda (Japan) and Zhou (China); provide someone Americans could support, and thus increase sales of Red Bull drinks in the US.

      Personally I find fast drivers of any nationality more interesting to watch than slow drivers from specific markets; none of them should be on the grid, opening up places for the F2 champions who have unambiguously won the right to be on the F1 grid.

      Thank goodness this particular mini-drama is now over. Red Bull should have picked up Drugovich but Aston Martin got in there first.

    6. some racing fan
      20th September 2022, 2:37

      Herta has shown incredible promise in IndyCar- particularly on road circuits and has been consistently quick everywhere. He won his 3rd ever IndyCar race at only 18 years old and pulled off a stunning drive in the wet at the Indianapolis GP. Whether he can succeed in F1 however remains to be seen.

  2. I don’t really understand the idea that F1 doesn’t want an American driver. The game has always been the same. If you want to make it in F1, you have to go to Europe to have a realistic chance. It’s not exclusive to drivers from the US. F1 has drivers from all around the world and the vast majority have made the move to race in European junior series. If the US finds a driver good enough to climb the FIA ladder, they’re more than welcome (Logan Sargeant anyone…?). I think indycar drivers should gain superlisence points more easily but even then plenty of those drivers aren’t even from the US!

    1. I think F1 does want an American driver, @tommy-c, but to the FIA it’s not worth compromising the integrity of the superlicence system for, which would call into question the value of the “ladder”. Fewer people would fork out however-many-millions-it-is-now for an F2 seat if you could get your SL points with cheaper drives in other series.

      I imagine this is another factor in the growing rift between the FIA and Liberty.

      1. Is there integrity to the Superlicense system? Because it looks like an arbitrary points system designed to prop up F2 and F3 at the expense of other high level series like IndyCar. You can’t honestly say Colin Herta is less ready for F1 than Max or Kimi were at their debut. It’s all about upholding this system, but the system is inherently flawed.

        1. FIA qualification system for a FIA race series supports other FIA race series over non-FIA race series. Shocking.

      2. Liberty would like an American driver. The FIA probably would like an American driver.

        I have yet to hear of an American going through the European open-car ladder without facing hostility, derision, and insults. I don’t think the Formula 1 community is particularly eager for an American driver.

        I sometimes wonder if the reason Hamilton is so divisive is because of his skin color, or that he acts too “American” (even though he isn’t).

    2. If the US finds a driver good enough to climb the FIA ladder, they’re more than welcome

      I think they already have, or at least several have gained high placement in Indy.
      The problem is the ones that have scored high consider Indy an easier way of making money.
      Consider that Herta has repeatedly been outscored by other drivers, but none of those drivers has shown any interest in F1 – that is a big reason why there is no American F1 driver.

      You have to be good enough and interested.

      1. I don’t know about “an easier way of making money”, but it’s certainly more fun. Someone like Josef Newgarden is not going to be eager to abandon a competitive ride in IndyCar for a middle or back of the pack car in F1.

    3. F1 don’t want drivers from outside of Europe… ask Piastri…
      If he was European he would have had a drive in 2022.

  3. First porsche, now Herta. What’s next on the list for Red Bull

    1. Maybe De Vries. He has been seen with Helmut yesterday (According dutch media)

      1. Yes, they confirmed he will drive for Alpha Tauri next to Yuki next season.

  4. I feel for those who have been booking British GP tickets. I have seen dynamic pricing at work before, for example with festival tickets, but in my experience once you add the ticket to your basket that’s the price you’ll pay. From what I’ve been hearing, Silverstone have been changing the prices between the customer selecting the tickets and getting to the checkout to pay for them. That’s a terrible customer experience, and possibly unlawful.

    My advice to anyone disappointed by their Silverstone experience is to find your local circuit and go to a race meeting. Any meeting. You’ll pay far less, meet lots of passionate and knowledgeable fans, and see some motor racing that might actually be good. Most UK circuits have better viewing experiences than Silverstone, too.

  5. Given RB’s unwillingness to promote a program driver in F2, which other outsider could be a viable option as Gasly successor?
    Herta’s situation consequently & effectively means Gasly will see out his RB contract by staying at AT as confirmed post-Canadian GP.

    Alpine would equally fail if they tried to do with Doohan what they tried with Piastri.
    Besides, Williams would preferably go for their driver Sargeant, not to mention De Vries, who’s more likely to become a full-time Williams driver than join Alpine, & probably also Mick.
    Furthermore, why rush with Doohan anyway when he can continue in F2 for a second year?

    1. I expect the Alpine drive will come down to a choice between Gasly and DeVries. Cannot see why they would go for Hulkenberg but I guess Schumacher may have an outside chance.

      Then if DeVries does not get the Alpine drive I expect he will go to Williams. I cannot see that he won’t get a drive compared to someone who has not raced in F1.

      I think there is still an outside chance Ricciardo may still be a factor. Possibly at Haas with Mick going to Williams.

  6. petebaldwin (@)
    17th September 2022, 9:25

    It’ll be interesting to see what they do with Herta. His current 3 year rolling total is 3rd, 5th, 10th. That means the 3rd will drop off this year but the 5th and 10th will remain… He’s going to have to win the Championship or compete in several in order to qualify next year.

    It’s absolutely insane that a 5 year Indycar career comprising of a 3rd and 5th place in the Championship along with 7 race wins is not enough to be considered competent for F1 when there are driver like Latifi competing but it is what it is…

    1. @petebaldwin Latifi at least reached the standard minimum SL-point amount requirement & on merit.

      1. @jerejj – He did – helped massively by the fact that finishing 5th in GP2 is worth over double what finishing 5th in Indycar is. Also for some reason, finishing 2nd or 3rd is worth the same amount of points in F2 as winning the Championship whereas finishing 3rd in Indycar is worth half as much as winning the Championship.

        Herta would have comfortably reached the SL point amount if Indycar drivers earned at the same rate as F2. He could have scored 0 points in this season and previous one and he’d still qualify….

      2. It’s almost like the superlicense system is a farce.

    2. @petebaldwin there are practical issues about integrating a driver from IndyCar into F1 though, given that they are likely to have taken a rather different route through junior series as well to get there.

      Given that F1 teams do tend to recruit staff from junior motorsport teams to fill the ranks of engineers, pit mechanics and so forth, some of those staff will tend to move up into F1 with a driver and thus drivers tend to form links with those staff over time – however, somebody coming across from IndyCar is unlikely to have the same number of links with motorsport staff.

      Whilst there are debates about how important driver feedback may be in debriefing sessions, building that relationship with a driver would take time and is an area where a driver from IndyCar, at least in the short term, would have something of a disadvantage. There is also the psychological aspect about how motivated the team might be if a driver is more effectively integrated into the team – we know that a number of drivers have moved to be closer to their team headquarters to be able to spend more time with team members, and that former F1 staff have talked about how the drivers can play an important role in rallying a team, inspiring staff or helping them fit in with the team.

      However, given that relocating from the USA to Europe would be a fairly major change on a personal level, some IndyCar drivers have indicated that in itself might be a bit of a stumbling block – and teams have had a pretty negative experience with IndyCar drivers who were unwilling to move to Europe to be closer to a team, and as a result were poorly integrated into the team (i.e. the Michael Andretti problem).

      Similarly, there is the issue that, in a time where testing for the teams is quite limited, drivers from IndyCar are at a disadvantage when it comes to familiarity with the circuits that appear on the modern F1 calendar. Whilst modern simulation tools do assist with that, it is still notable that some drivers have commented about finding it easier to adapt to a circuit if they have raced at that venue during their junior career.

      With IndyCar choosing to confine itself to the USA, with no overlap with F1 in terms of circuits – COTA was dropped off the calendar a few years ago – there is no overlap in circuits, making that learning curve significantly steeper for a driver from the USA. In the specific case of Herta, he did race in Europe in Formula 3 for a year, but that is still somewhat limited experience compared to the degree of familiarity a driver who has come through Formula 3 and Formula 2 would have with the circuits on the F1 calendar these days.

  7. It’s not about whether you’re competent enough for F1, it’s really about forcing you through the F3/2 ladder. It’s already helped kill off alternative routes like the old F3 and World Series. Fewer European talents going through Super Formula in Japan too. In reality, if a driver is too slow or dangerous for F1, teams won’t pick them or they’ll quickly drop them.

    1. @f1hornet – unless they pay enough for a seat….

      1. Before it was so strict, it was rare to have a pay driver who was really that dangerous. Ide is really the only one that comes to mind, and he didn’t last long.

  8. Graham Rahal the son of Bobby Rahal, another racer is talking about merit? Puzzling.
    Doohan is too tall for f1.

    1. Doohan is apparently 183cm. Shorter than Ocon and Albon at 186, as well as Russel and Latifi at 185. Hulkenberg, Kubica, Stroll, Verstappen, Leclerc, and Ricciardo are all over 180cm. So I don’t think Doohan can be ruled out purely by his height.

      1. @Robert
        Russell is actually 187(.96) & Latifi must also be 187 or 186, given Gio is 185 & Latifi stands taller beside him.
        Di Resta is also 185
        Hulkenberg, Kubica, Webber, Hartley, & Sirotkin – 184
        Palmer – either 183 or something in the Russell-Latifi-Albon-Ocon range
        Sutil – 183
        Button & JEV – 182/183
        Stroll – 182
        VER – 180/181
        Leclerc & Gutierrez – 180
        Ricciardo – 179/180
        Just some tall & tall-ish driver examples among both current & former F1 drivers, but the tallest ever to compete in F1 is Justin Wilson (RIP) at 192-195 range, depending on the source.

        1. I forgot Grosjean at 180

  9. Indycar should definitely be getting more points than they are now and I hope they remedy this soon. That said, it would be unfair to the other drivers if they made an exception just for Herta.

    1. It wouldn’t be the first time. They made an exception for Raikkonen and that turned out alright. They can use it as an opportunity to make a fairer system.

      1. @Dane What exception? The whole points system didn’t even exist back in 2000-01, so apples to oranges.

        1. There wasn’t a points system but there was definitely some controversy over Kimi being given a superlicence as he’d hardly done any racing outside of karts. I don’t know if anyone had been refused one due to lack of experience before though.

          1. @petebaldwin it was controversial at the time, with Mosely himself saying that he thought it was a mistake to give a licence to Kimi to race in F1.

            As to your question of whether the FIA refused to grant licences to other drivers due to a lack of experience under earlier licencing systems – yes, there is a considerable list of drivers whom the FIA refused to grant a licence to due to a lack of experience in single seater cars under their older licencing systems.

            As a couple of examples, you could have Karl Oppitzhauser’s attempt to enter the 1976 Austrian GP with a privately owned March 761, where his licence was not only rejected, the FIA flat out refused to even allow him into the circuit given he had no experience in single seater cars. You have Ricardo Londoño (1981 Brazilian GP, where Ensign tried to enter him), Fulvio Ballabio (the Spirit F1 team wanted him to drive for them for the 1984 season), Jari Nurminen (claimed to have signed a contract with Coloni for the 1988 season, but that the Finnish motorsport authorities refused his application to the FIA for a superlicence), Akihiko Nakaya (Brabham, 1992), Katsumi Yamamoto (Pacific, 1995) – the list goes on.

            Perhaps one of the most famous drivers who had their licence refused due to a lack of experience was Sébastien Loeb – Red Bull tried to get a superlicence for him to race for Toro Rosso back in 2009, but the FIA rejected his application (although disappointed at the time, Loeb did later say that he thought that the FIA’s decision probably was actually for the best).

  10. Herta had no chance, none at all. F1 to America: send us your money, not your driver’s. You’re not good enough and never will be, but your US dollars spend just fine. Please let’s add another race in America so we can give them even more cash to hand out to Merc , Ferrari, RedBull etc. No new teams either, don’t want to dilute the cash flow.

  11. I think that any driver that drives for 1 full season in F2 or IndyCar is qualified to race in F1 if one of the 9* F1 teams decides to give that driver a seat. The objective of F1 should be to field the best drivers and the current points system places unnecessary restrictions on that.

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