Colton Herta’s move to Formula 1 is finally off with Red Bull giving up on its pursuit of an FIA Super License for the would-be Scuderia AlphaTauri driver.
The organization had been seeking dispensation for the IndyCar driver, who does not have the requisite points to obtain the Super License.
However, Speedcafe.com understands that Herta had been denied dispensation already last year, and that it was unlikely to be forthcoming at a second time of asking.
Now, Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko has confirmed to German-based outlet Motorsport-Total that the American will not be in one of its F1 teams next year.
Marko asserted that it represents a missed opportunity for the championship to further its following in Herta’s lucrative home market.
“It’s a shame that people don’t realize what value an American driver, especially a guy like Colton Herta, would have for the booming American market, especially with three F1 races,” he said.
The 22-year-old has seven IndyCar race wins to his name, and is considered one of the hottest talents in the category.
However, after finishing 10th in the series this year, he would still have only 32 of the 40 points necessary to obtain a Super License, with Marko declaring it “incomprehensible” that such a driver does not qualify.
There were other options available to make up the shortfall, such as competing in another competition this coming northern winter, with 10 points on offer for the title winner in New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series, for example.
However, that would have prolonged the uncertainty over Herta’s future, and hence that of his IndyCar team, Andretti Autosport.
His failure to land a Formula 1 seat is likely to have a ripple effect through the F1 driver market, beginning with AlphaTauri incumbent Pierre Gasly.
The Frenchman faces roadblocks in his career given Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are contracted through 2028 and 2024 respectivelyand had been in the frame for a move to Alpine.
However, Gasly’s current deal ties him to AlphaTauri for next year and a release is now unlikely given Herta is not a feasible replacement.
That means that McLaren castaway Daniel Ricciardo’s chances of a return to Alpine, which he drove for in its Renault days, have seemingly improved.
Still, Marko has reportedly now met with Nyck de Vries, who made a sensational debut as a last-minute fill-in for Williams in the Italian Grand Prix, last time out.
The Dutchman had been in contention for a more permanent drive at Williams next year, while Ricciardo has stated that he is open to a “project” teama tag which could reasonably be put on the Grove-based outfit.
It is understood that de Vries’ current contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the year, making him a free agent for 2023.
The 2022 season continues with the Singapore Grand Prix on September 30-October 2.