Formula 1 should have a re-think about its super license rules, as Red Bull’s plans to bring Colton Herta to the grid next year look set to collapse.
Some teams but also F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and the FIA seem uninterested in bending the strict credentialing criteria to allow the Indycar driver to debut for Alpha Tauri next year.
So intense is the speculation surrounding Indycar driver Herta that some suspect the “unwell” Pierre Gasly was only absent at Monza on Thursday to avoid the media’s heat.
But Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko was not shy in suggesting that Herta not being able to step up to Formula 1 is a failure of the current system.
“Really fast racing cars are in Indycar and in Japanese Super Formula with strong internal competition. They are clearly undervalued compared to our junior series,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.
Also clear, however, is that Red Bull is only looking towards the exciting American market for a Gasly substitute because none of the energy drink company’s own juniors are ready to step up to F1.
Marko is reportedly disappointed with the F2 campaigns of Red Bull-backed Liam Lawson, Jehan Daruvala and Juri Vips.
As for Japanese Ayumu Iwasa, Marko insists: “He needs a second Formula 2 season.”
The same is true of Isack Hadjar in Formula 3, although Marko said he has high hopes that the 17-year-old Frenchman is “a driver like Prost”.
For those reasons, Marko is pushing hard for the FIA to make an exception for Herta, who he says is clearly ready to step up to F1.
“Formula 1 would also be happy about having an American,” said the 79-year-old Austrian.
But if Herta does not get the green light, meaning Gasly does not move to Alpine, then likely new Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich is a frontrunner for the Renault-owned seat.
He is reportedly supported not only by Renault but one of Brazil’s major banks, although the Mercedes-backed Nyck de Vries was also spotted in conversation with Alpine team management recently at Zandvoort.