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

Red Bull tried to sign Colton Herta to drive for AlphaTauri in 2023.

Red Bull adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, has disclosed that Andretti made an improved offer to Colton Herta in order to convince him to stay next year.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to Formula 1 in 2022, and he completed a test in Portugal with McLaren in preparation for a potential future drive.

By all accounts, the American impressed in his appearance with the eight-time champions, but they have gone with Oscar Piastri for the 2023 campaign.

One of the reasons for this is that Herta does not currently hold enough points to qualify for a super license.

READ: McLaren boss admits concern about Red Bull ‘snatching’ their driver for 2023

He has 32 of the necessary 40 points needed to obtain one, so one more season in IndyCar should be enough to get him over the line.

However, one argument is that the FIA should be rating the American series more highly, but the governing body will not budge.

This is despite pressure from Red Bull, who have been trying to acquire Herta’s services in case AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly heads to Alpine next year.

They will only let the Frenchman go if they can find a suitable replacement, and because they are not entirely happy with their junior options, they pursued one of IndyCar’s brightest young stars.

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As well as the FIA closing the door, for now, on Herta’s F1 dream, Dr Marko suggests that Andretti made him a better offer.

“Andretti increased their offer to Herta so that he stays there,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

Further, the 79-year-old affirmed that Herta’s relationship with McLaren made things more difficult.

“He has to arrange the obligations to McLaren and Andretti himself if he wants to come to us,” added Dr Marko.

Herta praised the efforts of Nyck de Vries who, after winning the Formula 2 and Formula E titles in recent years, made his debut appearance with Williams at the Italian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman’s points finish put him on the radar for an F1 drive next year, but Herta does not feel any resentment towards the added competition.

“He’s already 27, 28, but with what he did in Monza, he got a lot of attention from a number of places,” he explained.

“It proves that when you get the chance, you have to take it. He did, so all credit to him.”

Before reaching the pinnacle of motorsport, the Andretti driver still feels that he has unfinished business in IndyCar, having finished last season 10th in the championship.

“There are a few things that we and I need to improve, I’m not yet a fully championship-worthy driver – or at least I wasn’t this year,” added Herta.

Andretti Global, led by IndyCar champion Michael, made an attempt to buy the Sauber Group last year in a move that might have seen Herta get the chance to race for them in years to come.

That deal fell through, but there will be more opportunities for the American.

READ: McLaren boss calls for a ‘review’ as he hits out at the FIA for anti-US bias

“Michael wants to get me into F1 and that’s not a short-lived offer either,” stated Herta.

“In the next few years there may be a few more options, like if someone wants to sell or if a new manufacturer comes in.”

It appears likely that Herta will stay with Andretti in IndyCar for at least one more season.