Our four tips for Colton Herta to get his Super License

This is the saga of autumn 2022: Colton Herta, 22, IndyCar driver for the Andretti team, is at the center of discussions and debates in Formula 1. The American driver is the X factor of the transfer window for the 2023 season On the one hand, Alpine would like to acquire Pierre Gasly, from AlphaTauri, to replace Fernando Alonso.

On the other, Red Bull did everything to recover the young Californian talent and place him within the small Italian squadra… but two complications stand before this maneuver. Problem #1: AlphaTauri won’t release Gasly without being sure to get a replacement. And problem n°2: Colton Herta has not yet validated his Super License, essential to race in Formula 1…

Herta, the taste for (not so) simple things…

As of this writing, Colton Herta has 32 points on his Super License (Number : Colton Herta finished 7th in IndyCar in 2019 (4 points), 3rd in IndyCar in 2020 (20 points) and 5th in IndyCar in 2021 (8 points). His 10th place in the 2022 championship is not counted since it represents his worst result in the last four years.

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To validate your Super License and therefore be able to arrive in F1, you must obtain 40 points. The American driver is therefore 8 units short of entering the premier category of motorsport in 2023, but time is running out… If Red Bull struggled body and soul to offer Colton Herta the possibility of validating his Super License, the case is far from easy. There are currently four ways for the native of Santa Clarita (California) to obtain the precious sesame.

Participate in Free Practice 1 sessions

To glean some points, the most logical and coherent solution would be for Red Bull or AlphaTauri to involve Colton Herta in Free Practice sessions 1. According to the regulations dictated by the FIA, a holder of a « Super License Free » (awarded from 25 points) will be granted an additional point if he has successfully covered at least 100 km during a free practice session, provided that no penalty points have been imposed on him . At most, a driver can earn a total of 10 additional points over a season.

Now that the IndyCar season is over, Colton Herta will have ample availability to attend every F1 race weekend. Red Bull could therefore decide to place him on several EL1 sessions at the last Grands Prix of the year. Moreover, Franz Tost declared that AlphaTauri stood ready to roll the American if necessary. “From our side, we will support him, of course. If it is necessary to run it to the ELs then we will. »

However, this solution would not be enough, since there are only 6 Grands Prix left on the calendar (Singapore, Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Abu Dhabi). If he participates in all the Free Practice 1 sessions successfully, Herta could claim a maximum of 6 points, which would increase his total to 38 points. You would then have to look for your last two points elsewhere…

Compete in Indian Regional Formula

It’s probably the most outlandish idea and yet it’s the one that seems the most effective. If Colton Herta wants to get the missing points from his Super License, the ideal would be to get them on the track. One of the rare championships which takes place at the end of the year and which could give enough points to the Californian driver would be… the Indian Regional Formula.

On paper, everything could correspond to the requirements: the championship takes place from November 10 to December 11, in 5 rounds (including one on the Buddh International Circuit, which hosted F1 between 2011 and 2013). The champion also wins 18 points on his Super License, the vice-champion pockets 14 points and the third wins 12 points. This will be the first time that the Indian Regional Formula awards points for the Super License as it is now recognized and affiliated with the FIA.

Colton Herta could then take a step back by driving Formula 3 cars to obtain his Super License even before the end of the 2022 calendar year. The question that arises is: does a participation in Formula Indian regional is possible? If Red Bull or someone else is determined to give Herta the opportunity to get the infamous document on the track, there would be no contraindication to his arrival in the Indian championship. For the organizers, in search of visibility for this young competition, it would also be a boon to see the involvement of Herta and/or Red Bull this year…

Participate in the Asian Regional Formula

If the track of a participation in the Indian Regional Formula should fail, another solution could be the Asian Regional Formula, which will take place from January 13 to February 19, 2023 in the Gulf countries. A championship which is renowned and rightly used to glean some points for the Super License. In 2022, several Formula 3 names went there: Isack Hadjar, Arthur Leclerc and Oliver Bearman.

Like its Indian equivalent, the Asian Regional Formula rewards the champion with 18 points on his Super License, 14 for second, 12 for third. Colton Herta could even settle for a 4th place in the championship, which gives 10 points for the precious document. Here again, the timing would be very tight in view of the exchanges for the 2023 transfer window. Winter testing in F1 should then begin in the same period, and a formalization of Colton Herta in F1 would come too late.

Obtain a waiver from the FIA

Last solution for Red Bull and Colton Herta: request a waiver from the FIA. In the rules, an exception is allowed to obtain the Super License without having pocketed the necessary 40 points. If a driver has at least 30 points, the FIA ​​alone can decide whether or not the document can be granted. In this case, the FIA ​​must judge that the driver could not reach 40 points because of “circumstances beyond its control or reasons of force majeure. »

It is on this part of the regulations that the Red Bull leaders have based their argument. According to them, IndyCar is too devalued compared to other championships (Formula 2, Formula 3) given the difficulty of American competition and the variety of circuits (oval, urban and road).

At the level of Formula 1 and the FIA, the tendency is not in favor of such a process. Same story with the other teams, as we saw during the recent Spa-Zandvoort-Monza triplet.

If on the one hand, F1 would like the arrival of an American driver on the grid in 2023, in an increasingly important and priority market (with 3 Grands Prix in the country of Uncle Sam next year) , the federal authorities do not lean on the side of the American.

The FIA ​​does not want to call into question its pyramid of access to the Super License, which had been set up then reviewed after a long period of gestation in 2016. It is the International Automobile Federation which will have the last word , and she does not seem determined to give Herta and Red Bull a free pass.

If we ignore the ultimate potential of Colton Herta at the wheel of a Grand Prix single-seater, we do not see how he would be less qualified than others  » talent seen on the track in recent years.

READ ALSO> Bryan Herta wants his son Colton to obtain the Super License « in a fair way »

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