The FIA is reportedly looking into whether Colton Herta is eligible to be granted a Super Licence that would let him join the F1 grid.
Silly season has been blown wide open in recent weeks following the news that Fernando Alonso will be leaving Alpine to replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin.
Alpine had intended to replace him with Oscar Piastri but it then emerged that he’d signed an agreement to sign for McLaren, who have now announced that Daniel Ricciardo will be leaving at the end of the season.
As a result, the French team must look elsewhere for Alonso’s replacement, and while Ricciardo himself and Mick Schumacher have been linked with the vacant seat, reports have claimed that their first choice is Pierre Gasly.
The Frenchman is contracted to drive for AlphaTauri but Alpine are planning to spend any compensation money they receive from McLaren for Piastri to buy him out of that contract.
Red Bull seem open to such a move too, with Christian Horner and Helmut Marko both refusing to rule it out.
If it does happen, AlphaTauri will need a new driver, and one of the names linked with the team is American driver Herta.
The IndyCar driver has stated his desire to drive in F1 and his best chance of doing so looks to have ended with McLaren, whom he has tested for this, signing Piastri.
Marko is apparently considering giving him a chance at AlphaTauri instead, which wouldn’t be all that surprising given Red Bull’s lack of junior drivers ready to enter F1.
One hurdle is superlicense points though, with Herta having 32 to his name and 40 required for a driver to enter F1 permanently.
He could in theory gain six more before the end of the season if he were to drive in each FP1 session once the IndyCar campaign is finished, but that still wouldn’t be enough.
However, according to Motorsport.com, the FIA are looking into whether they get him onto the grid nonetheless, aware that his arrival would help F1 in its efforts to grow in America.
There are clauses that would allow them to make an exception and grant him a superlicense, but they risk upsetting those looking to get young drivers from F2 onto the grid that are already eligible.
“If he gets a licence we might as well all stop investing F3 and F2,” a paddock source told the site.