FIA denies Colton Herta license to race in F1
Formula 1’s governing body said on Friday that IndyCar star Colton Herta will not be granted the super license the American needs to join the F1 grid next season.
“The FIA confirms that an investigation has been carried out through the appropriate channels which has led to the FIA confirming that driver Colton Herta does not have the required number of points to obtain an FIA super licence,” the FIA said in a statement. communicated.
The FIA’s decision was not a surprise.
Red Bull were interested in the 22-year-old Californian and considered giving Herta a seat at AlphaTauri, their junior team. AlphaTauri has already stated that Pierre Gasly will return next season and Yuki Tsunoda received a contract extension earlier this week.
However, AlphaTauri has acknowledged that it will release Gasly, who is apparently wanted at Alpine, but only if he has a convincing driver such as Herta to put in the car. F1 hasn’t had an American on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015, but Herta was not particularly keen on the FIA making an exception to the licensing system to secure him a place.
The problem is how the FIA rates IndyCar, a series it does not regulate. The points he awards to IndyCar drivers fall somewhere between F2 and F3, the two junior feeder series in F1.
IndyCar drivers criticized Herta’s defense system and the intense, close racing of their own highly competitive series. Herta has won seven IndyCar races, is the youngest winner in series history and has four starts in the Indianapolis 500. He qualified first overall in 2021 and finished career eighth in 2020.
Rossi, who has spent the past four seasons as a Herta team-mate at Andretti Autosport, went wild this week because “I’m so sick of this back and forth” regarding licensing.
“The premise was to stop people buying their way into F1 and allow talent to be the motivating factor,” Rossi wrote on social media. “It’s great. We all agree that Colton has the talent and the ability to be in F1. It’s also great and he should get that opportunity if given to him. Period.”
“Motorsport remains the most prominent sport in the world where money can trump talent. What is disappointing and in my opinion the root problem is that the sporting element is so often in the background compared to the business that it was necessary here to put in place a method so that certain teams stop taking drivers only according to their financial situation.
Rossi added that “whether out of greed or necessity, this is what cost Colton the opportunity to make the decision on his own to change careers and race in F1. No points on a license.
The system favors drivers who compete in FIA-sanctioned series. For example, Linus Lundqvist earned his super license by winning the Indy Lights Championship.
Lundqvist’s required points come from the 15 he earned for the Lights title, 10 points for finishing third in the Lights last year and his 2020 victory in the FIA-governed Formula Regional Americas championship, which earned him 18 dots.
This gave the 23-year-old Swede a total of 43 points, three more than needed for the license.
Herta, meanwhile, finished the IndyCar season with 32 points. He can still win a super license by collecting a point for all the free practice sessions he organizes this year; McLaren owns his F1 rights and could put him in a car. Herta could also potentially race in an FIA-sanctioned winter series to pick up points.
Michael Andretti, who asked the FIA to expand his grid to add two cars to him to start a team, said he never bothered to explore potential replacements for Herta in the IndyCar team as he was confident that the super license application would be denied.
Andretti has met strong resistance from existing F1 teams and even F1 itself in its hope of adding an 11th team. Andretti could still enter the grid by buying an existing team and he would like to build his program around Herta, which is under contract in IndyCar with Andretti until 2023.
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