Ferrari F1 director Mattia Binotto has said he will be « completely unfair » to circumvent the FIA’s superlicense system to allow the transfer to AlphaTauri of IndyCar driver Colton Herta for 2023, and stated that « each team » monitor how the governing body handles the situation.
Red Bull wants to place seven-time IndyCar race winner Herta in its sister team AlphaTauri for 2023, but the 22-year-old American does not meet the criteria required under the current superlicense system to fill a starting seat .
Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko is still hoping for a solution for Herta who have 35 points out of the required 40. He could even go down to 33 if he drops two championship spots in IndyCar’s final race of the season this weekend at Laguna Seca.
« We invest a lot in our Ferrari Driver Academy and continue to do so, » says Binotto today.
« Force Majeure cannot be used for Herta, it would be a completely unfair approach. There are regulations in place to protect our sport and to ensure that we make the right process and the right choices for our sport itself. «
« So Herta can participate in the championship if they have the conditions to do so and not differently. It is very important, and we will certainly see what the FIA will do in this regard, and I think every team is watching it because it’s important for our sport. »
« We cannot have force majeure in any situation – and it certainly is not force majeure in the case of Colton Herta. »
Colton Herta’s father Bryan, a CART and IRL winner in his own racing career in the 90s and 2000s, admits that any kind of exemption « could be unfair to others ».
« Superlicense points are decided by the FIA, and they make the rules, and you have to respect and follow the rules, » says Herta Sr, who co-owns her son’s car at Andretti Autosport.
« The only thing I would say is that Colton deserves a chance in Formula 1 one day. When that will be, I don’t know. But I think it would be unfair for him to be considered a special case. He has to come in by the rules. If you do, do it by the rules. If they reevaluate how they all get points for IndyCar, that’s one thing. But the rules are the rules. »
« I can understand their series, F2, and even F3, having priority. It makes sense. But it seems a bit disrespectful to IndyCar to have just those few points. I can understand both sides of argument. »
Uncertainty over Herta’s status is delaying Pierre Gasly’s potential transfer to Alpine, with Gasly set to stay at AlphaTauri – where he is already under contract for 2023 – if Herta cannot secure an F1 licence.
« The latest information on Pierre is that he has a contract with us, as I already said last time, » repeats the boss of the AlphaTauri team, Franz Tost, in Monza, « and regarding Colton Herta, it’s a decision of the FIA whether he gets the superlicense or not. And I hope the FIA will make that decision as soon as possible so that we know how to build the team and where to go for the ‘next year. »
Tost said his team would « everything requested by the FIA - like, for example, having Herta race in EL1 this year » to help the American qualify for his superlicense.
Asked if a Red Bull junior could take Gasly’s seat if Herta’s bid failed, Tost said: « It’s a Red Bull decision, which driver they will put in the team. But I think if it’s not Colton Herta, then Pierre Gasly will stay and nothing will change. »