As Andretti Autosport’s venture into Formula One accelerates, team principal and former F1 driver Michael Andretti has revealed that IndyCar star Colton Herta tops the list of candidates for the driver’s seat – assuming their entry is approved.
However, one major obstacle remains: Herta lacks the FIA super-licence required to compete in F1. At just 23 years of age, Californian Colton Herta is already a seven-time winner in the IndyCar series and is widely regarded as one of the most promising talents in American motorsport.
Colton Herta: The prodigy without a passport
Despite his impressive resume, Herta’s path to F1 has been complicated by his lack of Super Licence points. A lacklustre 10th place finish in the 2023 IndyCar standings has not helped his cause. To even be considered for F1, he will need to improve his performance next season in order to accumulate the necessary points.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Herta’s super-licence dilemma has blocked his path to F1. He was the favoured option to replace Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri for the 2023 season. Unfortunately, an unsuccessful application to the FIA for a super licence led to the team opting for Nyck de Vries instead.
In a recent interview with Sky Sports F1, Michael Andretti said, “Colton is definitely at the top of our list, but obviously, we have the [superlicense] points problem, so we have to see how he does in the IndyCar championship.
“But then, we’ve talked to a few others as well that do qualify, but, you know, the goal is to have at least one American in the car and then an experienced driver in the other car to help mentor that.”
Other candidates on the horizon
While Logan Sargeant may have ended the drought for an American F1 driver, his underwhelming performance in 17 races with Williams makes him unlikely to be considered by Andretti.
An alternative being considered is Kyle Kirkwood, another rising American talent. At the age of 25, Kirkwood has already achieved unprecedented success on the Road to Indy ladder, taking his first two wins in the IndyCar series this season.
When asked about the possibility of joining Andretti’s F1 team, Kirkwood said, “I would hope that he would consider me. But for me, I’m very happy with where I am at the moment. I love being based in the USA.
The future and the challenges ahead
Andretti Autosport’s ambitions for F1 are clear: to bring American talent to the forefront of international racing. However, the hurdle of Super Licence points remains a significant one if Andretti insists on running an America driver in their team.
As the team continues its foray into the pinnacle of motorsport, the coming seasons in the IndyCar series could be crucial for both Herta and Kirkwood as they seek to fulfil the criteria needed to make the jump to F1.
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