Colton Herta won’t be moving to F1 with AlphaTauri, according to sources in German media.
According to Germany’s Motorsport-Magazin, Red Bull’s attempt to replace Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri in 2023 with Colton Herta won’t proceed.
Herta’s ineligibility for an FIA superlicense has been the biggest roadblock to the switch, as the sporting body has declined to make an exception to permit the IndyCar race winner to switch from Indycar to Formula 1.
Red Bull’s efforts to integrate Herta into Formula 1 will not proceed as a result of the governing body’s unwavering stance.
The talks came to light over the course of the Dutch Grand Prix weekend, when Christian Horner said Red Bull was willing to transfer Pierre Gasly to Alpine in order to take Fernando Alonso’s place, so long as other considerations came together to give them an interesting prospect.
According to Helmut Marko, Herta was the aim for AlphaTauri, and if the FIA granted an exemption for Herta, the transfer in series for the American driver as well as Gasly’s move to Alpine would be announced at Monza.
Drivers must have acquired 40 weighted points through their racing in other categories in order to be eligible for a superlicense, the document needed to compete in Formula 1.
Herta does not have the necessary 40 points despite his success in the non-FIA IndyCar championship owing to the low weighting given to IndyCar (less than that of Formula 2).
This sparked a lot of debate over the course of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, with some team principals arguing that the FIA shouldn’t bend to Red Bull and amend the rules, while others contended that common sense should be used for a driver towards the top of a prestigious series like IndyCar.
Next week, Alpine will conduct a test at the Hungaroring, and a number of well-known drivers have been suggested as potential candidates to pilot the A521 from the previous year.
Herta had been expected to participate in the test but is now less likely to do so since the Red Bull move seems to be off the table.
Jack Doohan, a junior at Alpine, and Nyck de Vries, Williams’ Monza super-sub, are potential candidates. Prospects for the 2023 race’s slot, like Mick Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg, are unlikely to show up.
Following the FIA’s refusal to give in to Red Bull’s demands, the driver-silly season actually gets a little less ridiculous.
Pierre Gasly, who had already committed to staying with AlphaTauri under the terms of his contract with Red Bull for the coming year, and who could only leave with the consent of Red Bull, himself, and a third party, appears to be stuck in his current situation unless Red Bull actually does decide a change is necessary and releases him.
Since Gasly’s plans can’t move forward without Red Bull’s support, Alpine is still without a driver to take Alonso’s seat.
The FIA’s strict superlicence criteria is the key issue brought up by the entire scenario. Ironically, the present approach was adopted in 2016 in reaction to Red Bull’s promotion of a relatively young and inexperienced Max Verstappen to Formula 1.
It’s not surprising that FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been unyielding on the subject in a year in which the organization has enforced rules with far greater rigor than in previous seasons.
This is because the governing body’s procedures have come under scrutiny as a result of the fallout from the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.