Driver tipped to replace Ricciardo at McLaren opens up on F1 plans

Colton Herta will test for McLaren later this year as he eyes an opening to get into Formula 1.

Andretti IndyCar driver Colton Herta would love to get to race in Formula 1 in the near future amid his highly anticipated test with McLaren later this year.

Herta has won 14 races in IndyCar and Indy Lights in a hugely impressively career at just 22 years of age, and he has experience of going up against some current F1 talent previously.

He was in the same Carlin team as Lando Norris in the MSA Formula Championship in 2015, winning eight races as he ended the season third in the standings, and his cornering speed, according to the Briton, earned Herta the nickname “hooligan Herta.”

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Daniel Ricciardo is out of contract at the end of 2023, and it is clear that his form at the Woking side has not been entirely satisfactory since his arrival last year, so the door may very well be open for the American in 2024.

Having proven his dexterity both in the European junior series and in America, Herta wants to make the step to the pinnacle of motorsport.

“It is a serious ambition of mine,” he said in Indianapolis this week.

“There’s a lot of things that when I’m done racing I want to be able to say that I did,” he continued. “And Formula 1 is pretty high on the list for one of those things.

“There’s a big list of different races, events, series that I want to be a part of, and Formula 1 is definitely higher up on the list than a lot of things.

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“I wanted to get to IndyCar, I wanted to get to the Indy 500. I still want to win the Indy 500 obviously, which I haven’t done yet.”

Patricio O’Ward has won three races for McLaren Arrow SP since his arrival into the series in 2020, and he tested for the F1 team in Abu Dhabi in December.

There is natural intrigue around Herta’s day of running with the British side, but he cannot pinpoint exactly when it will take place.

“It is going to be later in the year. I can say I’m going in June to Woking for a seat fit and then some simulator stuff,” he explained.

“I’m looking forward to that. The last time I was there was in 2019. I think I did one day of sim. I didn’t really get to see the factory which I’m hoping I get a nice tour of.

“They’re very secretive of everything [but] hopefully I can see all the bits and bobs. But yes, that’s going to be the first step. 

“I want to be in F1 at some point in my career, and obviously time is essential to that, so it’s going to be very important to do a good job in the test and hopefully open some doors.

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“[It’s] going to be fantastic, I’m really looking forward to it.”

The IndyCar paddock is taking to the road version of the Indianapolis speedway this weekend, and Herta qualified for the race as the second quickest Andretti driver in 14th behind Romain Grosjean, but ahead of Alexander Rossi and Devlin DeFrancesco.