F1 CEO suggests American racer won’t be allowed to replace Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri

Colton Herta tested with McLaren at the Portimao Circuit earlier this year.

Formula 1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali, would like Red Bull to follow “protocol” in their pursuit of Andretti IndyCar driver, Colton Herta.

Herta has won four races in the American series since his arrival in 2018 having graduated from Indy Lights, and he currently sits eighth in the Drivers’ Standings in 2022.

Initially, he was tipped to find his way into F1 this year with Andretti, who made an attempt to buy the Sauber Group.

That move fell through, but Michael Andretti is still trying to enter a new team into the sport in 2024, seemingly against the wishes of Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff.

READ: FIA investigating American racer’s eligibility amid AlphaTauri rumours

However, all is certainly not lost in Herta’s pursuit of a race seat in the pinnacle of motorsport, evidenced by the test he performed in Portugal with McLaren recently.

However, the British team’s pool of drivers is pretty full right now. They have recently signed Alex Palou to their IndyCar team alongside Patricio O’Ward, and they have now acquired Oscar Piastri to join Lando Norris in F1.

Rene Rase is their first Formula E driver, with Felix Rosenqvist, the driver Palou will replace in IndyCar, expected to head to the all-electric series alongside the German.

As a result, Red Bull have swooped in to lure the 21-year-old, and they would like to make him a reserve driver – or perhaps a little more depending on the future of Pierre Gasly – for their junior team, AlphaTauri.

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The issue for Herta is that he is currently eight points short of qualifying for an F1 superlicense.

As the superlicense system is governed by the FIA, it would be them that would grant an exception were Red Bull to ask for one. 

Red Bull adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, seemed confident that the rule would be waived for their target.

“I think we can prove that he eligible for it, let’s see,” he said, quoted by Motorport.com.

“It’s not yet done, the deal, but we will go for it. 

“We are Red Bull and we are brave, and we will hopefully be successful with him.”

Domenicali, however, wants to see the superlicense rules being followed, although he has no official say as to the whether the FIA grant an exception.

“The sport needs to respect the rules, and, of course, American drivers or other drivers are very important,” he told Motorsport.com.

“If he is eligible to come in F1 because he has the points, it’s fantastic news. 

“But there is a ladder to follow, there is a protocol to respect, and that is the situation, so it’s really what I believe is right to do.”

Domenicali is also unsure about changing the superlicense qualification rules to suit Red Bull’s wishes. 

“I don’t think it’s right to change something retrospectively, I think it’s the right thing to do to apply the rules,” he said.

“And if there is some point to be to discussed, if there is a need to update the rules, there is the right forum on which everyone can bring ideas or points for discussion. 

“But today, the rule is that one should be respected, that’s my opinion.”

While the Italian reiterates that the presence of an American driver can only be a good thing for F1, he is adamant that there is a process to follow.

“It would be great to have an American in F1, and it obviously would give us a good boost in the US, but I think the points system is there for a reason,” explained Domenicali.

“We don’t want to create a system where you try to pick out series that have the least resistance, where the scoring ability is the highest. 

“I think the F4/F3/F2 echelon is something that works for Europe.

“Maybe you need to look at IndyCar, what that could mean or Super Formula, does that score the right points?

“But the regulations are the regulations, and I would really hope the Americans can somehow score enough points to make it in F1.”

READ: Colton Herta says he reached the limit during McLaren F1 test

With Gasly tipped to go to Alpine to replace Fernando Alonso, Herta is one of a number of options for them.

Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, Haas’ Mick Schumacher and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi are all out of contract at the end of the season, while Daniel Ricciardo is leaving McLaren at the end of this year to make way for Piastri.

The Australian is still looking for a seat next year as a result.