Red Bull adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, is left wondering why Colton Herta’s performances in IndyCar have not been enough to earn him a super license.
Herta competed in the MSA Formula Championship in 2015, and he partnered Lando Norris in the Carlin team, eventually finishing third in the championship.
The American’s rise through American single seaters has been meteoric since then, and he has claimed four wins in as many years in the IndyCar series.
He sits eighth in the Drivers’ Standings currently, 161 points adrift of leader Will Power.
McLaren gave Herta a test in Portimao earlier this season, but it does not look as though the door to the British team will be open to him any time soon due to the arrival of Oscar Piastri.
Now though, AlphaTauri could be on the verge of losing Pierre Gasly to Alpine following the departure of both Piastri and Fernando Alonso.
Were that move to materialise, Red Bull would need another driver to step into that role, and they have a couple of options in Formula 2.
Liam Lawson, Ayumu Iwasa Jehan Daruvala and Juri Vips have shown some impressive performances so far in the feeder series, and Dennis Hauger has made a good impression after winning the Formula 3 title in 2021.
But none of them are in title contention going into the latter part of the season.
This is something Dr Marko is disappointed with, so he told Auto Motor und Sport that Iwasa “needs a second season,” as do the others.
Isack Hadjar, meanwhile, is second in the Formula 3 Standings at present, five points behind leader Victor Martins.
The Frenchman will be promoted to F2 for the 2023 season, joining Red Bull’s extensive pool of talent on the final rung before the pinnacle of motorsport.
One wonders how F2 championship leader, Felipe Drugovich, is still not affiliated to an F1 team, but Dr Marko still has his sights set on Herta.
As recently as 2017, Pierre Gasly made his way through the Super Formula before making his debut with Toro Rosso that year, and the 26-year-old is proof that the Japanese series is good preparation for F1.
The IndyCar series has always been full of prestige, so Dr Marko is unsure why Herta’s competitiveness in that series has only given 32 of the required 40 points to qualify for a superlicense.
“The IndyCars and the Japanese Super Formula drive really fast racing cars, and there is strong internal competition,” added the 79-year-old.
“They are clearly undervalued compared to our junior series.”
Herta might already have been on the grid this season with Andretti, but their attempted buyout of the Sauber Group fell through last year.