Colton Herta could still race in Formula 1

Colton Herta has tested with McLaren this season.

Chairman of the Circuit of the Americas, Bobby Epstein, believes that the door to Formula 1 has not completely closed on Colton Herta.

The young American has won four races since he joined IndyCar proper in 2018 with Harding, who have since adopted their Andretti guise.

Herta has claimed four race wins in as many years, and he finished 10th in the championship in 2022, while performing testing duties for McLaren.

He was tipped as a potential replacement for Daniel Ricciardo at the British side, but they have instead signed Alpine reserve driver, Oscar Piastri.

READ: Helmut Marko reveals Red Bull failed to poach driver due to ‘McLaren complications’

The Australian gained enough super license points from his Formula 2 exploits last season, but Herta only has 32 of the required 40 points to qualify.

Another season in the American should do the trick, but in general, IndyCar holds less value than F2 and Formula 3 in the eyes of the FIA, who grant Formula 1 super licenses.

This is a bone of contention for many, particularly those in the American series, who feel that their championship is being undermined by the world motorsport governing body.

Red Bull were scouting Herta as a possible replacement for Pierre Gasly should he leave AlphaTauri for Alpine, but the FIA would not budge when the Austrian side asked them to grant Herta a super license.

Article continues below

For now, there will be no place on the grid for the Andretti driver, but Epstein sees no reason why he cannot fight his way into the paddock in the coming years.

“I don’t think the final chapter has been written on that story yet,” he told the Race.

“So I hope we see him in Formula 1 in the future, even though it may not be next year.

“I’d love to see him on the grid, especially in a team that’s competitive, that’s equally important.”

One of Herta’s team-mates, Alexander Rossi, finished second in the 2015 GP2 series to Stoffel Vandoorne, and he is set to join McLaren’s IndyCar project next year.

His career path has worked differently to that of Herta, who returned to America after finishing third in the MSA Formula Championship in 2015.

“I’ve been asked like 1,000 times or whatever the question about the American driver,” explained Epstein.

“And nobody has pointed out the difference! It’s a big difference if you come through [the American junior ranks].

“Because Alexander came through the other direction and wound up in IndyCar, right? And people didn’t notice Rossi there [in F1].

“So that would be unique. And that would be really helpful if they came through IndyCar rather than the traditional F1 feeder series.

READ: Red Bull planned to field Colton Herta in a race this year

“There’s a bump there. It might only last one year, that bump of interest, unless he’s competitive.

“But there certainly would be the bump you would get from someone coming from IndyCar and stepping forward, rather than just from the feeder series in Europe, if there’s an American that went over there.”

If Red Bull were to dig into their junior pool for a possible Gasly replacement, they would likely find Formula 2 driver, Liam Lawson, as their most likely option to join AlphaTauri next season.