Red Bull wanted to bring Colton Herta to AlphaTauri for F1 2023, and thus accept Alpine’s offer to release Frenchman Gasly .
However, the energy drink giant’s plans depended on Colton Herta achieving the mandatory super license that F1 requires drivers to race in the category.
F1 regulations require 40 super license points earned in other categories and, at the end of the 2022 season, Herta only has 32 to his credit.
But after winning races in IndyCar, and given his success in other categories such as Indy Lights (runner-up in 2019), Red Bull believes he has the talent and experience to race in F1.
One of the arguments they believed he deserved the special permission was that his last season in Indy Lights would have given him the necessary points for the super license if the championship had lasted longer, something that was beyond Herta’s control.
However, with some uneasiness on the part of F1 teams over the impact granting Herta an exemption would have on other categories, the matter became highly political.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was very clear at the Italian Grand Prix when he said: “I think you can’t use force majeure with Herta. It would be a completely wrong approach. The rules are there to protect our sport. and to ensure that we are making the right process and decisions for our sport itself.”
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport
Those comments prompted a response from the FIA assuring that it will not submit to outside pressure on any decision it might make.
“The FIA will not be pressured by any team to make decisions on matters such as superlicence points. The FIA president has put in place strong governance, and we will stick to it,” a spokesman said.
However, amid growing indications that the FIA would reject the request, Red Bull has opted to abandon its bid to get Herta into F1 anytime soon.
For now, Herta will complete the last year of his contract with Andretti in IndyCar in 2023 before analyzing his next steps.
Although Herta was aware that his F1 dream was over for now, the FIA has formally announced that the superlicense waiver request has been rejected.
An FIA spokesman said: “The FIA confirms that an investigation was made through the appropriate channels which led to the FIA confirming that driver Colton Herta does not have the required number of points to be awarded a super license from the FIA. FIA”.
“The FIA continually reviews its regulations and procedures, including with regard to superlicence eligibility, with the main factors being considered in relation to that issue being safety, experience and performance on the approach road.”