Red Bull Racing’s attempt to secure Colton Herta’s services for Alpha Tauri for the 2023 season revealed what many believe to be flaw in the FIA’s super license qualifying system. Despite winning 7 IndyCar races in his three years Herta failed to accumulate enough points to qualify for a drive in Formula One.
IndyCar is in general a more tightly fought series with the previous 17 consecutive seasons being decided at the final event of the year.
Herta won more Indycar races than most of F1 field
Other than the current F1 drivers’ champions (in Hamilton, Alonso and Verstappen presently racing in Formula One does Daniel Ricciardo (8) and Valtteri Bottas (10) have more wins than Herta in their chosen premier single seater racing series.
The lack of entrants in the Indylights series in 2018 in effect prevented Herta from qualifying for his F1 super license and there are a number of calls for the FIA to now improve their ranking of IndyCar achievements in the F1 super license qualification process.
Formulae Regional Americas accuse the FIA
However, it now appears the FIA stymied Colton Herta whose father attempted to create the opportunity for his son to score more FIA super license qualifying points by approaching the Formula Regional America championship in an attempt to enter his son.
“Bryan Herta called me in July of this year, just before Toronto, and wanted to see if he can get [his son] Colton to come and run in our Formula Regional series because he needed more super licence points,” the series’ race director Scott Goodyear reveals on the Racer to Racer podcast
“We were approving it from a series perspective, and our management group certainly approved it, but he couldn’t get clearance from the FIA to be able to run that and be given an opportunity to be able to run in the series just to collect some points. So it was difficult.
FIA stymie Herta’s second route to F1
The teams and drivers in the North American Formula Regional series were delighted at the prospect of such a high profile name competing in their championship.
“The teams and the drivers in FRegional were ecstatic because they thought somebody of Colton’s calibre was going to come to run in the FRegional, and they get a real chance to see how their abilities matched up to somebody that’s one of the best drivers. The FIA protocol [stopped him].”
So not only does the FIA currently treat IndyCar as inferior to Formula 2 but it appears they actively attempted to prevent Colton Herta from qualifying to drive in Formula One.
FIA claim “no knowledge” of Herta application
Racefans claim that an unknown F1 spokesperson says the F1 governing body was unaware of the request from Herta and pointing out , “because IndyCar and FRegional Americas run in the same calendar time” he would only have been able to claim superlicence points from that series or IndyCar.”
Yet this explanation does not hold water because had hertz won six races in the series which clearly a driver having won 7 Indycar races is capable of, he could have used just his Formula Regional Americas series points to qualify for the FIA super license and cast his 2022 Indycar results aside.
Whilst the FIA have announced a series of management appointments and reshuffles today, the organisation is in desperate need of reviewing a number of its procedures and regulations to retain the gravitas the governing organisation at the pinnacle of global motorsport should convey.