Herta staying focused on IndyCar despite F1 testing deal

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Herta staying focused on IndyCar despite F1 testing deal

IndyCar

Herta staying focused on IndyCar despite F1 testing deal

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With 16 NTT IndyCar Series races left to run between March 20 at Texas Motor Speedway and September 11 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Colton Herta says the date of his Formula 1 testing debut for McLaren Racing is not on the immediate horizon.

“It’s all to be decided,” the Andretti Autosport driver shared in a Saturday morning chat. “We’ve got a really hectic IndyCar season ahead, too, so we’re gonna have to find some time in between that. I’m sure it’ll happen kind of later in the year. But I think there’s more kind of to come on that front. There’s still a lot a lot of unknowns and in what we’re going to be doing, we’re gonna be doing it. But I’m sure there’s a lot of news that’s gonna be coming out in the next few weeks.”

Herta expects driving McLaren’s race-winning 2021 F1 car in private testing will be an illuminating experience.

“I’m really happy with the opportunity that McLaren is going to give me to test one of their race cars and give me a little more insight into how a Formula 1 car operates and what it’s actually like,” he said. “There’s a lot of unknowns going over there. I’m sure it’s going to be very different. To the naked eye, the cars look similar but the mechanics and the way you drive it seems to be quite different. So it’s going to be a big step up and a big difference from driving the IndyCar. I’m sure McLaren will have me very well prepared by the time I’m ready for it.”

Herta will follow Andretti teammate Alexander Rossi as the first high-profile American to be engaged by an F1 team in nearly a decade. He’s proud to carry the torch for the Stars and Stripes as well as the IndyCar paddock, and would like to see the testing opportunity develop into a race seat in 2024 or beyond.

“It feels great,” Herta continued. “[Becoming] a full-time Formula 1 driver is totally the goal that hopefully I can reach one day; would be awesome. Not just for me, but for the country and for all the IndyCar fans to kind of push behind. But at the moment, it’s just a testing program. That’s what I’m going to focus on and do my best in that and see what kind of opportunities arise from it.

“You know, if the worst thing that’s gonna come out of this is I’ll get to test an F1 car, I’d be extremely happy. So I’m excited for this year not only in IndyCar, but now that I have the opportunity for this and [see] see how I go in that car.”

The idea of representing the USA at F1’s visits to Florida for the Miami street race and in Texas at Circuit of The Americas near Austin is another item that pique’s Herta’s interest.

“I think it would be amazing to race in front of the United States as a Formula 1 driver,” he added. “And now that we have to two American races to race in the U.S., it would be spectacular to have an American in F1.”

Herta is also looking forward to reconnecting with McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris after the two were paired on the junior open-wheel racing ladder long before they reached the top of their respective championships.

“It will be cool,” he said. “I hope I get to go out to a race or two and go see what he is what he’s up to. Because yeah, I haven’t seen him for a long time and we were teammates back in 2015 in F4. So we’ll see how that plays out.”

Listen to the full interview below or click here.

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