The American has emerged as a candidate to occupy a seat at AlphaTauri in case Pierre Gasly ends up signing for Alpine.
Drivers need to score 40 points to get the super license to be in F1. Those points are based on their best three finishes in the previous four seasons, and an extra year has now been granted to cover championships affected by COVID-19 .
Looking ahead to 2023, Herta will only have 32 points based on his best three IndyCar championship finishes, and he can also score points for any Formula 1 Free Practice session he contests this year. However, it will still not reach the necessary 40.
The FIA is studying how it could give Herta a super license if she does not get the required points, and one of the options is to justify that the exception is due to “force majeure”.
While the arrival of an American on the 2023 grid would be a boost for a sport that is drawing ever closer to the United States, team bosses have questioned whether Colton Herta could receive preferential treatment.
“From my point of view, it has nothing to do with a matter of force majeure,” said Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur , when asked about the possibility of Herta achieving the superlicense.
“Because there have been championships everywhere in the world where he has been able to score points.”
“Now if the FIA wants to stop the points process and the superlicence, that’s another story. They can do it, it’s up to them to decide if they want to change the system. And we can survive without the system. But for me, no It has nothing to do with a cause of force majeure.
“I think we have a system that if we want to change or if someone has a proposal to change the award of points, we can discuss it.”
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda
Vasseur underlined that the super license works in this way to maintain standards on the F1 grid.
“You have to keep in mind that when we made the decision about the super license and the points, it was to protect F1 and the drivers, to prevent 10 drivers coming into F1 with big budgets and no big results on their CV, and do with 50% of the grill.
“The reason for the decision was that, we did it on purpose. And I think it was a good decision. Now it’s another question to see if we have to attribute different points to IndyCar or to F3 or to F2.”
“And I don’t want to make any comparisons, because from year to year it’s completely different.”
Vasseur acknowledged that Alfa had previously studied the Herta case: “We had talks last year with Andretti. It’s no secret. The Herta option was on the table, but he couldn’t apply for a super license at that time.”
Haas team boss Gunther Steiner warned that the super license requirements must be followed like any other regulation.
“I would speak more generally,” he said. “I think we have rules and regulations, which we have to abide by. If we don’t abide by our own rules and try to find ways around them, I don’t think it’s right.”
“I mean then we could apply that to other things as well, but I’m not talking about Colton, I’m talking about the rules in general.”
“We have made them ourselves, we have signed them, there is a government and we have to respect it. Whether it is due to force majeure or not, it is a point of discussion. But as Fred said, I think that COVID was everywhere. It did not prevent any category ran”.
“I am one of those who says that if you have rules and you don’t respect them and try to find ways to avoid them, why have those rules? In that case you have to change them. And that’s a different debate. If you want to change the rules, let’s talk of it”.
“I insist, there is a regulation, you cannot change the rules overnight. It takes time. We had a very similar problem a few years ago [with Nikita Mazepin], and we are not looking to change the rules. We just work on it and we got the necessary points, so I think that’s the thing to do in cases like this.”
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03
Steiner acknowledged that an IndyCar driver is theoretically qualified to race in Formula 1, but stressed that the rules must be followed.
“There are quite a few drivers who have the super license,” he said. “I think Alexander Rossi and Josef Newgarden. They have got the super license, and they have done it by following the rules.”
“Like I said, we can discuss whether we have to change it. I didn’t decide when those rules were made, so I don’t know what it was based on or why the point system we have now was made.”
“If you want to change the rule, let’s discuss it and let’s do it for the future if you think that what we have now is wrong. But there has to be an agreement between the interested parties.”
Unlike his teammates, Andreas Seidl , whose McLaren team recently allowed Herta to take his first F1 test and wants to be given the chance at AlphaTauri, believes the FIA should give him a hand.
“I think in general we believe in the system, we think it’s a good system,” said the German. “But at the same time we are absolutely willing to have some flexibility as well.”
“Also, considering the situation of the last two years with COVID and everything else, it also had an impact on the results that the drivers were able to obtain.
“And yes, I’m absolutely open to some flexibility on a guy like Colton getting the super license, because in the end, from what he’s shown so far in his career, I have no doubt in my mind that he’s absolutely capable of competing in the F1”.
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