‘Lando rates him’: McLaren boss makes big admission about driver tipped to replace Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo's current McLaren contract expires at the end of next year.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has heaped praise onto IndyCar driver Colton Herta amid the continued links to a Formula 1 seat for the American.

Since the start of his career in 2018, Herta has won seven races in the American series with Harding and Andretti, who tried to buy the Sauber Group last year in a transaction that would have seen the 22-year-old enter the pinnacle of motorsport.

Herta raced alongside current McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris in the MSA Formula Championship in 2015, winning four races as he finished third in standings.

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The Andretti driver is set to undergo a test with the Woking-based team later this year, as Formula 2 talent Jehan Daruvala recently did at Silverstone, which will help determine his compatibility with F1.

At such a young age, Herta has already achieved so much in his career, Brown sees plenty of promise in the young star.

“The potential is definitely there, if you look at his results in IndyCar, he’s extremely fast,” he said.

“He was Lando’s teammate in Europe many years ago, and Lando rates him very highly.

“So he has an extremely good chance and is very capable of being an F1 driver, that’s why we’re testing him, and one of these days, should the stars align if the seat is available and Colton proves to us in testing that he’s capable.

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“Then yes, I can see him in F1, whether with McLaren or another team.”

Herta’s potential move to F1 coincides with the sport’s outreach to America, with three races in the States appearing on the calendar next year in the form of Austin, Miami and Vegas.

“That would be additive to the great exposure that F1 already has in North America,” explained Brown.

“We’ve got Las Vegas, we’ve only done Miami once, so we’re still in the early days of the rapid growth of F1.”

A move to McLaren would likely not transpire until 2024 as, after an impressive performance in each of the last two races, Daniel Ricciardo’s immediate future seems a little more secure.

There may also be an opening if Andretti Global are able to enter a new team for the 2024 season.