Colton Herta, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Herta considered junior series return in quest for F1 superlicence points

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In the round-up: IndyCar driver Colton Herta looked into entering the Formula Regional Americas series in an effort to score enough FIA superlicence points to be able to race in Formula 1.

In brief

Herta’s Formula Regional plan

Herta was one of AlphaTauri’s prospective F1 drivers for 2023, but the FIA rejected the multiple IndyCar race-winner’s bid to enter the series as he had not scored enough superlicence points since 2019. He has won seven IndyCar races in that times, but in a closely-fought 2022 season could only finish tenth in the standings, leaving him eight superlicence points short of being F1-eligible.

In his quest to earn more such points, Herta’s father approached the Formula Regional Americas championship about entering his son in the fourth-tier category. “Bryan Herta called me in July of this year, just before Toronto, and wanted to see if he can get [his son] Colton to come and run in our FRegional series because he needed more superlicence points,” the series’ race director Scott Goodyear said on the Racer to Racer podcast.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test
Nyck de Vries will race the car Herta missed out on
“We were approving it from a series perspective, and our management group certainly approved it, but he couldn’t get clearance from the FIA to be able to run that and be given an opportunity to be able to run in the series just to collect some points. So it was difficult.

“The teams and the drivers in FRegional were ecstatic because they thought somebody of Colton’s calibre was going to come to run in the FRegional, and they get a real chance to see how their abilities matched up to somebody that’s one of the best drivers. The FIA protocol [stopped him].”

However an FIA spokesperson told RaceFans they were not aware of any formal request to the governing body regarding a FRegional entry Herta, and pointed out that “because IndyCar and FRegional Americas run in the same calendar time” he would only have been able to claim superlicence points from that series or IndyCar.

By contesting the six races of the final two rounds, which took place after the IndyCar season, it would have been possible – but highly unlikely – for Herta to finish as high as third in the standings and qualify for a superlicence if he won all of them.

Ferrari’s potential 2023 engine gain

Ferrari have made a larger performance step with their 2023 power unit than their rivals, despite restrictions on development, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Addressing the reliability problems the team encountered last year has allowed Ferrari to unlock 30bhp from its 066/7 engine, it believes, while Mercedes have found 16bhp and Red Bull’s ex-Honda unit boasts an extra 10bhp. Alpine’s Renault power units have been modified without increases in power output.

Alpine to coach the next British F4 champion

The 2023 British Formula 4 champion will receive a year of physical coaching from the Alpine F1 team in the gymnasium at their Enstone headquarters.

The tailored physical training programme is one of several prizes for the champion, as they will also get to shadow McLaren at the 2024 British Grand Prix and will have a test in a FRegional car paid for by one of British F4’s series partners.

Ferrari announces juniors for 2023

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test
Shwartzman drove for Ferrari in practice last year
The Ferrari Driver Academy has revealed its class of 2023, with the only new change being the departure of Robert Shwartzman. The 2021 Formula 2 runner-up is likely to remain a part of Ferrari’s F1 team, having been their test driver last year, but has left the junior ranks along with IndyCar driver Callum Ilott who spent 2022 on a gap year from the academy.

Two of the FDA’s eight drivers are new additions, and joined the academy after winning shootout competitions last year. World Karting champion Tuukka Taponen won the FDA’s World Scouting Finals, and Aurelia Nobels won the FIA Women in Motorsport Commissions’s Girls on Track Rising Stars programme. Both had already been announced.

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Comment of the day

Mercedes have indicated they will continue with their 2022 design philosophy this year and try to maximise that rather than take ideas from other teams in their plan to catch up with Red Bull. Although design variation tends to decrease the longer a cycle of technical regulations goes on, Mercedes have faith to keep on going with their concept.

I think it’ll be good if the top teams are still coming at this with different concepts. That increases the chances that even if one team dominates on a particular weekend, another could come into play or win on a different circuit under different conditions. That kind of uncertainty and unpredictability always adds interest to a championship.
Keith Campbell

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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17 comments on “Herta considered junior series return in quest for F1 superlicence points”

  1. If Mr Herta wants to qualify for a super licence, there are plenty of ways for him to get to that goal, including but not limited to doing better in the professional series he’s been competing in for four full seasons.

    During that same time frame, multiple Indycar drivers collected enough super licence points to qualify.

    1. Sure, as well as Gasly or Magnussen had a fair chance of winning the F1 championship last year.

      1. Gasly and Magnussen drove substantially inferior cars than the regular winners did.
        Herta, on the other hand, drove almost identical machinery to everyone else on the grid…

        1. Yeah, but teams matter there almost as much as in F1. Basic car is the same, but everything they do with it later isn’t, and as we can see it makes a huge difference.

          1. But not nearly as much difference as in F1.

            Anyone in Indycar needs good driving and good strategy to achieve a podium. They all have the tools.
            Anyone not in the top 2 teams in F1 needs a miracle to achieve a podium, and many need it to even break into the points.

          2. Would that be the same team that desperately wants an F1 entry and is convinced they understand and are up to the challenges that come with that?

    2. Gotta say, your anti-American stuff is getting a bit old. I’m curious how you would react if it were Penske and not Andretti applying to get into F1…..

      1. SteveR, I wouldn’t necessarily say that poster is anti-American, if only because they seem to have a similar level of contempt towards pretty much everyone, not just Americans.

        That said, there is perhaps a point that a number of his backers have been emphasising Herta’s nationality when talking about him entering F1, with the implication that a non-American driver who happened to be performing in the same way as Herta in IndyCar would not be being supported in the same way.

        A driver who happened to be in Herta’s position and with Herta’s performances, but happened to be of any other nationality, would also be getting the same treatment as Herta – and it’s quite likely that very few here would be complaining or accusing the FIA of being biased against another nationality.

      2. anti-American

        I’m anti-“driver not qualifying for a super licence getting a super licence”, and proudly so. You’ll find that that applies to anyone and everyone equally.

        Penske and not Andretti

        I think you’ve asked me that before, and I have no idea why. Care to explain?

        1. Sure, your antagonism seems aided at Andretti.

          1. If Roger Penske tried to get back into Formula 1, he’d have both upsides and downsides to his bid compared to Michael Andretti’s.

            It would probably help that he was in Formula 1 before, as well as his significantly higher net worth (almost two orders of magnitude) clearly allowing him much more control over the team, should an entry be granted.

            It probably wouldn’t help that he’s the owner of the biggest North American open-wheel racing series (however tiny compared to Formula 1), IMS and the Indy 500, his age would likely be a factor, and his buddies at GM already being busy printing stickers for Michael’s cars might not help, either.

          2. At this point I have to ask who you would ‘let’ into F1. Does anyone meet your criteria and why are you so concerned? If they enter and fail then so what? Do you have some monetary connection to F1?

          3. At the current cut-rate price? Only works entries.

            I cannot think of a privateer bringing enough value to Formula 1 at this moment in time to warrant handing them several hundred million dollars in pure profit with their entry.

    3. @proesterchen If you watched Indycar or knew what you were actually talking about you would know that Herta slipping backwards since he finished 3rd in the championship as a rookie if more down to his teams struggles than any lack of ability on his part.

      But then I bet you do actually know that but just want to continue trying to get a job working as Liberty media’s PR man since you seem to vehemently defend everything they do & say and at times seem to take some really ridiculous stances while doing so.

      Are you even a fan of the actual sport as some of what you say sometimes suggests you have no idea about anything?

      1. more down to his teams struggles than any lack of ability on his part.

        If that were true, why would he sign an extension to his contract with said struggling team through 2027?

  2. Ferrari’s 30bhp gain claim is quite old already.

    A Mclaren car for an Alpine-organized thing rather than an Alpine car.

    Unsuspecting how?

    So Mclaren has actually stored the tyre set used for their former driver’s last stint in his first WDC-winning race from over 14 years ago.

    1. Jere, I think it’s an Alpine A110 not a McLaren

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