Herta to test for McLaren at Portimao this week

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Herta to test for McLaren at Portimao this week

Formula 1

Herta to test for McLaren at Portimao this week

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Colton Herta will drive McLaren’s 2021 Formula car at Portimao this week as part of his testing program with the team.

The Andretti Autosport driver has been signed to a testing deal by McLaren and recently spent time with the team in the simulator at the McLaren Technology Centre, as well as completing a seat fit ahead of his first F1 run. Those preparations are for his maiden outing in last year’s car — permitted by F1’s testing regulations — in Portugal.

Herta will run on Monday and Tuesday, before McLaren development driver Will Stevens takes over on Wednesday at the circuit that hosted races on the F1 calendar in 2020 and 2021.

RACER understands there are already more testing outings lined up for Herta but not before the sport’s mid-season break, during which time McLaren will analyze how the American stacks up against fellow IndyCar start Pato O’Ward, who tested for McLaren during the young driver test in Abu Dhabi last year.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says any decision on future FP1 runs will come once the team has evaluated all of the candidates it may put in.

“We want to give him a chance to run a Formula 1 car and to show what he’s actually able to do in such a car,” Seidl said. “We also have the possibility, now, to run a one-year-old car this year and that’s the objective of the test, first to see how he’s doing there.

“As you know, we have to do — two times this year — a free practice session with a young driver, and once we’ve tested all the candidates we want to give a chance in our TPC [testing of a previous car] car, we will make our mind up who will actually run these free practice sessions.”

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