McLaren’s Lando Norris believes former Carlin team-mate and current IndyCar driver Colton Herta has what it takes to make the switch to Formula 1.
Herta partnered Norris in 2015 in the MSA Formula Championship, winning four races as he ended the season third, with the Briton winning.
Herta’s cornering ability earned him the nickname “hooligan Herta,” and Norris reiterated his affection for his 22-year-old amid continued links to the pinnacle of motorsport.
“I was his team-mate back in 2015 and we have a lot of great memories together and I know how good a driver he is,” he said.
“I think he’s showing that in IndyCar at the minute so I think it’s different driving styles, I think he would have to adapt. He’s not been known maybe to be a tyre lover.
“That’s something you would have to get used to when he comes and drives on Pirellis but, apart from that, you know, he’s got a lot of talent.
“He’s a lovely guy, [a] hard worker as well. And I think he’s very suited to be able to perform at the level you need to be in Formula 1.”
There are suggestions that Daniel Ricciardo will leave McLaren when his contract expires at the end of next season.
Following a difficult run of form at the start of 2022, the 32-year-old even looked under pressure to keep his seat next season, but his improved performance of late have kept the critics quiet for now.
Who would be chosen to replace the Australian when he does leave is another question, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly currently looking a strong candidate when his deal also runs out ahead of the 2024 season.
So, if a move to the Woking-based side does not materialise for Herta, there might be a chance of moving to the Andretti team if they are granted entry for 2024.
Norris would welcome more teams into the pinnacle of motorsport as, since 2017, the grid has been a very exclusive club of 10 teams.
“I mean, I think it’d be good,” explained the Briton.
“I see more cars as probably a good thing.
“Not too many more, but I think if it’s 22 or 24 [drivers], I think that’s a decent amount.
“I think that’s what it used to be a few years ago when I kind of grew up watching Formula 1 so I think that’s great.
“[It creates] more opportunities, I guess, for people to get into Formula 1 too and, if it’s for someone like Colton, then it’s fully deserved.”
Herta has won seven races in IndyCar with a combination of Harding and Andretti since his arrival to the American series in 2018.