Verstappen and Raikkonen would not have had a Super License

Among the unintended consequences of the episode Oscar Piastri, the need for Alpine to find a second driver for 2023 has prompted the French structure to look into, among other things, the case of Pierre Gasly, admittedly linked until the end of next year to AlphaTauri but whose future seems uncertain. no longer have to go through Red Bull Racing. And on the side of the Austrian brand, the idea then germinated to kill two birds with one stone by yielding the Frenchman while trying to attract in his nets a hope of US motorsport, Colton Herta.

However, it quickly became apparent that this project would have to overcome a major obstacle: that of the Super License. Indeed, to run in F1, you have to obtain this precious sesame by collecting points (at least 40) linked to participation in various championships. However, under the current conditions and scale, which do not really favor IndyCar, Herta is only at the head of 32 units.

The FIA ​​could still award a Super License by circumventing its own system by resorting to « force majeure », but the seven-time IndyCar race winner will not benefit from such a favor; also, the plan to bring Herta to AlphaTauri has flipped over and Red Bull has visibly turned to the Nyck de Vries track.

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As for Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, who agreed with Herta to organize a future test in F1 but was ready to give it up to let the American do some driving with Alpine, it is estimated that the current system must be reviewed, if only to reassess the value of participation in the IndyCar championship, the winner of which is rewarded with 40 points as for F2, but the following places of which are less profitable than « the antechamber « of queen discipline.

« I think the whole licensing system needs to be reviewed »Brown told a selection of media outlets, including « I understand that the rules are what they are and should not be broken, but I doubt that the mere fact that these rules are in place today is enough to make them correct. »

« Someone of the caliber of Colton, of Pato [O’Ward] or half of the board [IndyCar] is capable of doing Formula 1. If someone like Colton, who has won a lot of races in IndyCar, is not eligible for a Super License, then I think we have to review the Super License system.

Colton Herta

Colton Herta

Brown points out that World Champions Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen, who came to the discipline at a young age and have not raced in Formula 2 or equivalent at all, would also not have been eligible if the current system had been in place.

« I don’t think Max Verstappen would have been eligible for a Super License, I don’t think Kimi Räikkönen would have been eligible for a Super License »said the American leader. « So if you go back, there are a few guys, World Champions, who wouldn’t have gotten their Super License under the current conditions. »

McLaren were prepared to let Herta test with Alpine at the Hungaroring to gain more experience, but it is understood that participation is also cancelled. However, Herta could possibly be required to perform free practice in future F1 races, as McLaren have yet to fulfill its obligation to put a rookie behind the wheel in two EL1 sessions.

Oscar Piastri, who has been signed by McLaren for 2023, still under contract with Alpine, Herta and fellow IndyCar drivers and McLaren F1 testers Pato O’Ward and Álex Palou are the main candidates to fill those two spots.

With Filip Cleeren and David Malsher Lopez

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