Colton Herta made a considerable impact on the McLaren Formula 1 team during his first test for the team in July at the Portimao circuit in Portugal. The two-day outing in a 2021 McLaren MCL35-Mercedes also appears to be the last for the American as the NTT IndyCar Series star is not scheduled for a second test with the team.
With Chip Ganassi Racing driver Alex Palou signed to a new testing opportunity with McLaren will see the 2021 IndyCar champion make his FP1 debut on Friday at Circuit of the Americas, and Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward on the books for his first FP1 session in Abu Dhabi, the opportunities for Herta to gain more mileage in an F1 car are increasingly slim.
“Colton did a fantastic job testing with us,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown told RACER. “We now are very happy with what we’ve seen out of Pato and Alex and our plans from this moment is to continue testing Pato and Alex for the foreseeable future.”
Signed to a new multi-year deal with his Andretti Autosport team, Herta will continue as the leader of its IndyCar program. The Californian’s return to the No. 26 Honda comes after significant efforts were made to try and place him on the F1 grid in 2023.
“It’s not clear to me yet what Colton’s long-term plans are,” Brown said “But we now have our short- to medium-term plans in place, which at the moment, don’t have more tests scheduled for Colton.”
Herta heads into 2023 as Andretti’s lone race winner among its four-car IndyCar squad after 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi departed for AMSP. In his place, 2021 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood has been signed to join fellow IndyCar sophomore Devlin DeFrancesco and Romain Grosjean, who embarks on his second year with Andretti and third in the series.
Herta will also rejoin the BMW M Team RLL IMSA outfit for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in one of the German brand’s new M Hybrid V8 GTP machines.