Monday, May 20, 2024

Herta considered junior series return in quest for F1 superlicence points

In the round-up: IndyCar driver Colton Herta looked into entering the Formula Regional Americas series in an effort to score enough FIA superlicence points to be able to race in Formula 1.

In brief
Herta’s Formula Regional plan

Herta was one of AlphaTauri’s prospective F1 drivers for 2023, but the FIA rejected the multiple IndyCar race-winner’s bid to enter the series as he had not scored enough superlicence points since 2019. He has won seven IndyCar races in that times, but in a closely-fought 2022 season could only finish tenth in the standings, leaving him eight superlicence points short of being F1-eligible.

In his quest to earn more such points, Herta’s father approached the Formula Regional Americas championship about entering his son in the fourth-tier category. “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 FRegional series because he needed more superlicence points,” the series’ race director Scott Goodyear said on the Racer to Racer podcast.

Nyck de Vries will race the car Herta missed out on“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.

“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].”

However an FIA spokesperson told RaceFans they were not aware of any formal request to the governing body regarding a FRegional entry Herta, and pointed out that “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.

By contesting the six races of the final two rounds, which took place after the IndyCar season, it would have been possible – but highly unlikely – for Herta to finish as high as third in the standings and qualify for a superlicence if he won all of them.

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