Provided a quality Formula 1 team expresses an interest in hiring young American driving talent, NTT IndyCar Series star Colton Herta hopes to receive the call.
Coming off his third IndyCar win, earned in dominating fashion on Sunday at Mid-Ohio, the 20-year-old Californian says competing in F1 continues to hold an interest, and after spending his early teens training on the European open-wheel ladder, Herta could be an interesting option for the grand prix paddock to consider.
“I’d love to give Formula 1 a crack,” he said. “I think it would have to mean either being with a top three team or incentives of, if I do good enough, getting to a top three team. So being at Alfa [Romeo], or something like that for a year or two, and if I do good enough, maybe I can move up to a Ferrari or a Red Bull.”
Holding fourth in the IndyCar championship, the driver of the No. 88 Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport Honda has been a revelation since joining the series as a full-timer in 2019 where he became its youngest winner at 18. F1’s licensing rules, however, could slow Herta’s ambitions to represent the U.S.A. on an international stage.
“I think it’s tough, because I don’t have the superlicense points, but who knows; maybe in this next year or two, if I finish good enough in the championship, it’ll get me close enough to where maybe the teams will consider me,” he said. “I think it’d be awesome. I think this is one of the markets (where) F1 lacks. It’s a huge market. I think you can see the TV numbers in the U.S. aren’t actually amazing for what you would think Formula 1 would get.
“So I think if having that U.S. driver can push the market forward and drive the market, I think it’d be very beneficial for Formula 1. But I’m perfectly happy driving IndyCars for the rest of my career if that’s what happens, and doing endurance races with BMW or whoever it might be in the future in IMSA.”
Herta also made it clear that his interest in F1 does not outweigh his love for IndyCar.
“I’d love to give it a shot; I think you’d be a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “But if I don’t, I think I’m going to be just fine and enjoy driving IndyCars just as much as I’d enjoy being in a Formula 1 paddock.”
Herta’s father Bryan, a four-time winner in the CART IndyCar Series, tested for the Minardi F1 team in 2002, but did not pursue a race seat after the run at Donington.