Colton Herta has been described as an “exciting” and “standout” talent by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner as he awaits a Formula 1 race seat with AlphaTauri.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko revealed on Sunday night that agreements had been reached for Herta to join the grid in 2023 if the FIA grants him a Super License, with RACER understanding that includes McLaren waiving its rights to him in F1 over the next two seasons. The 22-year-old has won races in each of his four full seasons in IndyCar to date and Horner says seeing his potential in F1 is what interests Red Bull.
“I think he’s an exciting talent,” Horner said. “He’s a young American, a guy that’s been a standout talent in the US so it’ll be very interesting to see how he performs in Formula 1.
“Formula 1 obviously has got growing popularity in the US market at the moment and to have a successful US driver could be very interesting, could be interesting for us in the longer term.
“We’ve got contracts with our existing drivers. AlphaTauri and Toro Rosso have produced a great stable of drivers for us to draw upon whether it be Sebastian [Vettel] or Max [Verstappen] or Daniel [Ricciardo] over the years.
There has been pushback from some team principals, and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, against approving Super License exemptions but with RACER understanding a decision on Herta could come as early as this weekend in Monza, Horner says it will have a big impact on how the rest of the F1 driver market plays out.
“That’s an FIA issue. We just need clarity on what is the situation regarding driver points which hopefully will come sooner rather than later. That plays a key role obviously in the driver merry-go-round.
“Obviously in terms of clarification on points for a driver looking to come into Formula 1, you’ve got to know that you’ve got options and if that option isn’t there then the other triggers are not going to come into play.”
Should Herta not be granted a Super License, Horner says there’s a chance Pierre Gasly would remain at AlphaTauri rather than be released to Alpine.
“Pierre is doing a good job within AlphaTauri so I don’t think there would be a desire to change if there wasn’t an interesting option available,” he added.