To drive for a Formula One team a driver needs an FIA Super License which is easier to attain if you drive in FIA approved series. However North American racing series are not governed by the FIA and despite their IndyCar series being more challenging than the FIA’s F2 competition, the points earned by drivers in IndyCar are woefully below the junior European series.
Intense speculation has been created by Christian Horner that the Red Bull Racing group want to sign IndyCar’s Colton Herta from Andretti Motorsports for 2023. Yet the young and exciting Californian driver does not qualify at present for an FIA super license.
The non-FIA regulated IndyCar series is disadvantaged by the points scoring system. It values the winner of F2 and IndyCar the same awarding 40 points, but thereafter the subsequent positions in IndyCar become quickly of significantly less value.
Drivers must accumulate 40 points from their previous 3 seasons best performances and while wining an IndyCar series awards 40 points, Winning F2 and coming P2 and P3 accumulates the same score.
By the time we get to P4 in IndyCar the comparative points to F2 are around a third. Even F3 drivers are scoring more in these positions than those I the North American series.
If IndyCar was credited with the same scoring system as F2, Colton Herta would have the 40 points required for his FIA Super License from the 2019-2021 seasons alone.
Christian Horner stated at the Dutch GP the team were looking to recruit Herta for 2023 and would not release their Alpha Tauri driver to Alpine unless the FIA agreed to the Californian’s application to race in F1.
McLaren have offered their support to Red Bull because they have seen Herta’s capabilities as he test their car for two days in July in Portugal and spent several days in their simulator.
However, other teams are against reviewing the Super License qualification requirements.
Haas boss Gunther Steiner stated, “I don’t want to be sitting here and saying, ‘Oh, an IndyCar race, we know it’s as good as this.’ You cannot compare it,”
“If we want to change the rule let’s discuss it and then fix it for the future if you think it’s wrong. But there needs to be an agreement between the stakeholders in it.”
The FIA discriminates against the North American series merely because it is not regulated by them and does not apply an equitable racing to achievements for drivers competing in the United States of America.
The NASCAR drivers are only awarded points similar to F3, 15 points. Bizarrely the winner of the women’s FIA W series competing in just a 10 race calendar achieves the same number of points as a NASCAR champion.
That is a joke.
IndyCar races a 17 race schedule and over a far more diverse set of race tracks than F1. Further the top speeds of these cars in qualifying at the epic Indianapolis circuit makes F2 look like go-karts.
There are currently four former F1 drivers in the IndyCar field in Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi, who in 2015 was the last American to race on the F1 grid. Ericsson, Sato and Rossi combine for four Indianapolis 500 wins.
IndyCar has a number of European FIA accredited racers competing this season. The rookies are Callum Lot and Christian Lundgard who were successful in F2 but couldn’t find a way into F1. Romain Grosjean an ex-F1 driver is in his second year across the pond together with Ferrari driver academy driver Felix Rosenqvist who also raced in Formula E.
The FIA Super License system was initially designed to ensure drivers made their way through junior Formula on their route to F1. Further and that drivers who qualified did not do so merely because of money, but on performance.
Colton Herta has spent time in the European junior Formula before returning to America. To be fair to team Herta, Brian Colta’s father a successful IndyCar driver in his own right believes his son should not be given special dispensation to join F1.
“It’s incredible and it says a lot that Colton is getting attention from other paddocks, and I think it’s great,” Bryan Herta told NBC Sports. “The Super License points are the FIA, and they make the rules, and you have to respect and follow the rules.
“The one thing I would say is Colton deserves a chance at Formula One sometime. When that sometime is, I don’t know.
“But I think it would be unfair for him to come in as a special case. He needs to come in under the rules. If you do it, do it by the rules. If they re-evaluate how they all get points to IndyCar, that’s one thing. But the rules are what the rules are.”
Bryan Herta emphasised the family is not pushing for special consideration from the FIA.
“That could be unfair to other people, too,” Herta said. “It’s hard to open those doors. I understand that.
“We’re not involved in any of that conversation. It’s not for him. It’s for the FIA and their constituents to worry about.”
The highest Herta has ever finished in four IndyCar seasons was third in 2020, and despite seven career victories, he’s going to end this year with roughly 33 of the needed 40 points for a Super License.
In reality the FIA Super License accreditation system is prejudicial to drivers from the USA, who in fact tend not to be the sons of Russian billionaires F1 allowed to race.
The FIA need to address this inequality and quickly. Stefano Dominicali CEO of F1 is passionate about delivering an American driver to F1 and the Piranha club where deals about deals are done may well make this possible. If – and only If – the commercial rights holder gives the FIA the incremental finance it is demanding.
Formula One pays its respect with a minute’s silence to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. pic.twitter.com/G7KaVAiZVW
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) September 9, 2022