IndyCar driver Colton Herta hopes that a bit of fortune falls his way in the form of a McLaren seat, but maintains that he does not wish any misfortune on anyone personally.
Daniel Ricciardo has struggled for form since joining McLaren ahead of the 2021 season, and he was out-qualified 15-7 by team-mate Lando Norris, who beat the Australian by the same score in race trim, last year.
It was a surprising dynamic at the Woking side, and the 32-yer-old managed just 13 points finishes, ending the season two championship positions and 45 points behind the young Briton.
He did, however, obtain their first race win since 2012 in Monza last season, with the team’s first one-to wince 2010 completed by Norris, who scored four podiums and was agonisingly denied victory at the Russian Grand Prix last season.
Herta has taken 12 wins in IndyCar and IndyLights combined, ending the 2020 IndyCar season third in what has thus far been an astronomical rise to prominence in US racing.
He nearly secured a move to Formula 1 this year, but Mario Andretti’s takeover of the Sauber group failed, so he was forced to stay put.
There was a silver lining though. He shares a McLaren association with fellow IndyCar driver Patricio O’Ward, and will complete some tests for the eight-time constructors’ champions this year.
The 22-year-old would love to secure a seat with McLaren, but is aware that he likely needs a demise of Ricciardo’s form for this to materialise any time soon.
“If (Ricciardo) continues to build, I probably won’t have that opportunity, but hopefully Lando kicks his ass a bit more, so I can at least have a shot,” he told IndyStar.
“Obviously I’d never wish down on someone. I’m not praying for his downfall. If he does well, great for him – he deserves the seat.”
“I guess it’s all in his hands for the future, but part of me does kind of hope I get the opportunity, at least a little foot in the door to maybe show what I can do.”
Herta will continue in 2022 with Andretti Motorsport, but having advanced so much in what is still an extremely young career, a chance in Formula 1 surely one day beckons for the Californian.