Andretti IndyCar driver, Colton Herta, may get some running with the AlphaTauri team this season, but his links with Red Bull appear to have already been cut.
The American has won four races in the American single seater championship, and he partnered Lando Norris at Carlin in the MSA Championship in 2015.
The 21-year-old ended that season third while the Briton won the title, but while Norris has since gone on to join McLaren in Formula 1, Herta’s exploits have taken him back to the States.
He joined the IndyCar Championship with Harding in 2018, and now races for Andretti, who themselves were aiming to get him a place in the pinnacle of motorsport.
They aimed to purchase the Sauber Group, but that move fell through, and the Swiss team now look set to be bought out by Audi.
Pierre Gasly, one of AlphaTauri’s current drivers, is contracted to the Italian team until the end of next season, but he has been linked with the vacant Alpine seat.
It would be a move to the top of the midfield for the 26-year-old, but his move to the French side would be dependent on two things.
The first is whether Alpine are willing to buy out his contract, while the other contingency is Red Bull finding a replacement.
They were lining up Herta, who tested with McLaren in Portugal recently, but IndyCar does not hold the same value, in the FIA’s eyes, as Formula 2 or Formula 3.
He therefore only has 32 o the 40 points required to qualify for a superlicense, and it seems unlikely that Red Bull will be able to get the governing body to grant him one.
However, it would be easier on everyone if the FIA confirmed their decision sooner rather than later.
“The latest on Pierre is that he has a contract with us, as I said already the last time,” explained AlphaTauri team principal, Franz Tost, when speaking with Formula1.com.
“And regarding Colton Herta, it’s a decision from the FIA whether he gets the Super Licence or not, and I hope that FIA will take this decision as soon as possible so that we know how to build up the team and where to go for next year.”
Red Bull adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, is not satisfied that his junior drivers, Liam Lawson, Jehan Daruvala and Juri Vips among them, are doing a good enough job in F2 at present.
It therefore does not seem that the Austrian side will be willing to put any of them into the Faenza-based team just yet.
So, if Herta is unable to enter F1 due to his superlicense snag, then Gasly will likely stay put.
“This we will see, this is a decision from Red Bull, which driver they will bring into the team, but I think if it’s not Colton Herta, then Pierre Gasly will stay and nothing will change,” added Tost.
If running Herta in some practice sessions will help his cause, then Tost would be more than willing to put him in the car.
“This is a question you have to ask the FIA because there’s a regulation and if the FIA wants to change anything, then this is one side,” he affirmed.
“We, from our side, will support it, of course. If it’s necessary to run in FP1 then we will run him in FP1. Yeah, we will do everything that is being requested.”
Herta finished 10th in the IndyCar Standings in 2022.