Colton Herta recently tested a McLaren car, but there is no vacancy at the Woking team and there probably won’t be any in the near future. Well, actually he is, because Ricciardo is retiring, but Oscar Piastri is expected to fill him.
Herta, who races in IndyCar, is now linked with AlphaTauri if Gasly leaves for Alpine.
However, Herta does not have a super license for F1. It’s a bit of a paradox because the rules for youngsters were tightened because of Verstappen, who entered F1 when he was not yet 18 years old.
In addition to other conditions, a driver must earn 40 points for placing in various series. The menu is really big – including DTM, Japanese Super Formula, WEC and even NASCAR.
Of course, the best subsidized is Formula 2, in which the winner can get exactly 40 points. This is possible in only one other series – IndyCar. However, unlike F2, other positions are scored more poorly.
For the super license, the last three years’ placements count. Herta was third, fifth last year and now tenth overall. However, covid is helping him. Due to the pandemic and the lower activity of motorsport in previous years, the driver can now count the three best results in the last four years.
Herta thus received four points for seventh place in 2019, twenty points for third in 2020 and eight points for fifth last year. That’s 32 points. He could get another point for participating in the first practice if he goes over 100 km. In total, you can get up to 10 points per season in the first training sessions, even if Herta won’t be able to do that.
If Herta applied for a super license already this year and AlphaTauri put him in the car in one of the races (and we know that Marko has no problem changing drivers during the year), he could theoretically also use the points for placing in IndyLights in 2018. But in the series back then there were too few drivers for points from that series to count. The FIA would have to grant an exemption.
F1 management would be thrilled to have an American driver in F1. However, according to Autosport, some do not like the possibility of Herta getting some concessions and exemptions. These are mainly people from F2 and F3.
One source from the paddock, who is closely associated with the young drivers, told Autosport that “if he gets the licence, we can stop investing in F3 and F2 straight away.”