IndyCar frontrunner for 2023 Fernando Alonso has been pushed into the middle of a silly season in the F1 driver market due to the shock move from Alpine to Aston Martin.
Alpine’s search for a replacement for Alonso was initially pinned on Oscar Piastri, but the young Australian has since signed for McLaren.
That move has shifted Alpine’s focus to Alfatouri’s Pierre Gasly, who Motorsport.com reported at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend could help if Hertha lined up as a replacement for the Frenchman.
The situation now hinges on whether or not Hertha will be granted a free license to hold the F1 superlicence, which is now eight points short of the one it needs to be granted.
The FIA is understood to be evaluating whether or not to invoke force majeure to award it.
But the latest signs of the unintended consequences of breaching the rules if drivers from the F3 and F2 categories find they could be scrapped into F1 in the future, the exact number of points.
Hertha is currently waiting to see how things develop, but says his chances at the Alfa Romeo were better than expected after a private test in an old F1 car, mostly linked to McLaren.
Speaking exclusively to motorsport.com, Herta said: “When I heard about the interest I was a bit surprised because I didn’t think I was on anyone’s radar.
“Everyone at McLaren seemed pleased with how the test went and that I was ready physically and mentally.
“So I think that helped. But yeah, I was a little surprised when I first heard about the interest in AlphaTauri.
Colton Hertha, McLaren MCL35M
Photo by: McLaren
Hertha doesn’t want to comment on his case — or his future — but he thinks IndyCar deserves more ownership points given how competitive it is.
“I think there’s a lot more to it and I really understand both sides of the argument,” he explained.
“The FIA want to protect their ladder series and they want their drivers to go through their system. But I believe that IndyCar deserves a bit more recognition in addition to the points split between F3 and F2.
Asked if there was a risk of the FIA breaking the single-seater ladder if it was given the go-ahead, Hertha wanted to know: “No, and to be honest I don’t fully know what happened because I don’t have one.”
“I’ve been telling my dad to take me out of the loop a little bit so I can focus on IndyCar. It’s tough, it’s got a lot of aspects that I’m probably surprised to read!
“Maybe it’s not all true, but I’m not 100% sure to be honest.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has made it clear that Gasly will be released from Alfalfa only if the energy drinks company manages to capture Hertha.
But according to sources in the United States, there is no doubt that Hertha will be in a contract to compete for Andretti next year.