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

The door to Formula 1 remains closed to Colton Herta.

McLaren Racing CEO, Zak Brown, has affirmed that, should his team make a move for Colton Herta, it will not be for the benefit of AlphaTauri.

Herta has been in the IndyCar Championship since 2018, and he has won four races in the American single seater series with a combination of Harding and Andretti.

The 22-year-old, however, does not have enough super license points to progress to Formula 1, having obtained 32 of the required 40.

McLaren gave Herta a run in their car in Portugal earlier in the year, but their driver pool is now full after the signature of Oscar Piastri to the F1 team alongside Lando Norris.

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

Red Bull then became an interested party when Alpine started circling around Pierre Gasly.

The French team are looking for a replacement for Fernando Alonso, but if they were to sign the 26-year-old, they would need to buy out his contract that runs until the end of next year, and does not have a clause.

Further, Red Bull would need to find a replacement for the Frenchman before they let him go, and they are not convinced by any of their junior drivers at the moment.

They therefore turned their attentions to Herta, but they found the super license system in their way, and they have not been able to convince the FIA to make an exception.

Article continues below

Were McLaren to have another go at signing the 22-year-old, it would be for their own benefit, not that of AlphaTauri.

“I would not rule Colton out but anything we do is going to be in the best interest of McLaren as opposed to helping out AlphaTauri,” said Brown, quoted by Motorsport Week.

Patricio O’Ward, one of McLaren’s IndyCar drivers, is also ineligible for a super license, which Brown does not feel is entirely fair.

“Someone of Colton’s or Pato’s Calibre or half of the IndyCar field are Formula 1 capable,” he added.

“If someone like Colton who’s won a lot of IndyCar races isn’t eligible for a Super License, then I think we need to review the Super License system.”

In today’s climate, neither Max Verstappen nor Kimi Raikkonen would be eligible for a super license either – they would be about 20 points short.

That speaks volumes to Brown regarding the exceptional young talent the FIA are denying access to.

READ: FIA criticised after American racer blocked from joining Red Bull due to ‘money’

“I don’t think Max Verstappen would have been eligible for a Super License, I don’t think Kimi Raikonnen would have been eligible for a Super License,” he added.

“If you go back and look, there are a couple of guys, world champions who wouldn’t have got their super license in today’s environment.”

Herta was reportedly offered the chance to race in some smaller series during the off-season in his bid to obtain enough points, but he turned that down.