FIA examines Colton Herta's F1 superlicense credentials

FIA examines Colton Herta’s F1 superlicense credentials

Alongside its current IndyCar commitments with Andretti Autosport, Herta has a testing agreement with McLaren and drove a 2021 car at Portimao last month.

However, he has now fielded by Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko inasmuch as Alpha Tauri conductor, if for example Pierre Gasly is allowed to drive Alpine.

The big challenge surrounding any potential deal is that it is currently short of the 40 points required to get a superlicense.

It is clearly in the interests of F1 and all teams to have an American on the grid next year – especially with Las Vegas joining Austin and Miami on the program – but the FIA ​​will have to be careful not to create precedent by circumventing its own rules. in order to help Herta’s case.

While rival team bosses can clearly see the value of having an American in F1, those with junior programs and spending a lot to get their drivers to collect points in F3 and F2 will also want to see that the process established is respected.

A paddock source closely associated with young drivers told “If he gets a licence, you might as well stop investing in F3 and F2.”

In fact, Herta isn’t too far off the required total, as IndyCar has a relatively heavy weight in the superlicense points table.

Known as Supplement 1, this table and other superlicence requirements can be found in Appendix L of the FIA ​​International Sporting Code.

Due to COVID, drivers can currently count their top three scores from the four seasons before they apply, which would mean 2019 to 22 if Herta is to race in F1 next year.

He earned four points for seventh place in the IndyCar Series in 2019, 20 for third place in 2020 and eight for fifth place in 2021, for a total of 32.

With two rounds to go in the 2022 series, he currently sits 10th with eighth his best realistic end result, so this won’t count as one of his top three.

He can also earn an extra point for any FP1 session he completes by the end of the 2022 season, as long as he covers more than 100 km and does not register any penalty points.

Up to 10 points can be earned this way. With Herta’s IndyCar season ending on the same weekend as the Italian GP, ​​such a race with AlphaTauri could conceivably involve the final six races of the season starting in Singapore, potentially taking it to 38, although in a way realistically, it is unlikely that the team will be able to organize a full program in time.

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Colton Herta, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: McLaren

Importantly, the FIA ​​has given itself some leeway, as an ISC clause notes that a superlicense could still go to a driver who misses the other qualifications. This is the case if they have “scored a minimum of 30 superlicense points but deemed in the sole determination of the FIA ​​to be unable to qualify under any of points a) to c) above, while participating to one or more of the championships listed in Supplement 1, due to circumstances beyond their control or force majeure.

Force majeure could be particularly useful if Herta were to apply for a full superlicense – not the Friday version used for FP1 sessions – which would allow it to race this year. That would potentially open up the range of four-season results he can rely on to include 2018-21.

He finished second in the 2018 Indy Lights Championship, a performance that should in theory be worth 12 points.

Unfortunately for Herta, the series had only eight regular entrants, not enough to meet the FIA’s criteria for scoring superlicense points.

However, if the FIA ​​decides that he could count those points after all – for example because the lack of entries was beyond his control – he could potentially count 12 for 2018, 20 for 2020 and eight for 2021, i.e. a total of 40. , which is exactly what he needs.

However, that scenario would seem to hinge on AlphaTauri being able to allow him to race before the end of this year, which would mean benching Gasly or Yuki Tsunoda at one of the last events of the season.

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