In the round-up: IndyCar driver Colton Herta looked into entering the Formula Regional Americas series in an effort to score enough FIA superlicence points to be able to race in Formula 1.
Herta’s Formula Regional plan
Herta was one of AlphaTauri’s prospective F1 drivers for 2023, but the FIA rejected the multiple IndyCar race-winner’s bid to enter the series as he had not scored enough superlicence points since 2019. He has won seven IndyCar races in that times, but in a closely-fought 2022 season could only finish tenth in the standings, leaving him eight superlicence points short of being F1-eligible.
In his quest to earn more such points, Herta’s father approached the Formula Regional Americas championship about entering his son in the fourth-tier category. “Bryan Herta called me in July of this year, just before Toronto, and wanted to see if he can get [his son] Colton to come and run in our FRegional series because he needed more superlicence points,” the series’ race director Scott Goodyear said on the Racer to Racer podcast.
“We were approving it from a series perspective, and our management group certainly approved it, but he couldn’t get clearance from the FIA to be able to run that and be given an opportunity to be able to run in the series just to collect some points. So it was difficult.
“The teams and the drivers in FRegional were ecstatic because they thought somebody of Colton’s calibre was going to come to run in the FRegional, and they get a real chance to see how their abilities matched up to somebody that’s one of the best drivers. The FIA protocol [stopped him].”
However an FIA spokesperson told RaceFans they were not aware of any formal request to the governing body regarding a FRegional entry Herta, and pointed out that “because IndyCar and FRegional Americas run in the same calendar time” he would only have been able to claim superlicence points from that series or IndyCar.
By contesting the six races of the final two rounds, which took place after the IndyCar season, it would have been possible – but highly unlikely – for Herta to finish as high as third in the standings and qualify for a superlicence if he won all of them.
Ferrari’s potential 2023 engine gain
Ferrari have made a larger performance step with their 2023 power unit than their rivals, despite restrictions on development, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Addressing the reliability problems the team encountered last year has allowed Ferrari to unlock 30bhp from its 066/7 engine, it believes, while Mercedes have found 16bhp and Red Bull’s ex-Honda unit boasts an extra 10bhp. Alpine’s Renault power units have been modified without increases in power output.
Alpine to coach the next British F4 champion
The 2023 British Formula 4 champion will receive a year of physical coaching from the Alpine F1 team in the gymnasium at their Enstone headquarters.
The tailored physical training programme is one of several prizes for the champion, as they will also get to shadow McLaren at the 2024 British Grand Prix and will have a test in a FRegional car paid for by one of British F4’s series partners.
Ferrari announces juniors for 2023
The Ferrari Driver Academy has revealed its class of 2023, with the only new change being the departure of Robert Shwartzman. The 2021 Formula 2 runner-up is likely to remain a part of Ferrari’s F1 team, having been their test driver last year, but has left the junior ranks along with IndyCar driver Callum Ilott who spent 2022 on a gap year from the academy.
Two of the FDA’s eight drivers are new additions, and joined the academy after winning shootout competitions last year. World Karting champion Tuukka Taponen won the FDA’s World Scouting Finals, and Aurelia Nobels won the FIA Women in Motorsport Commissions’s Girls on Track Rising Stars programme. Both had already been announced.
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Motor racing links of interest:
Manchester United: Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company Ineos formally joins process to buy club (BBC)
“Having inspected the accounts at Chelsea early, then left his actual bid until after the deadline for offers, Ratcliffe’s tactics raised a few eyebrows last year.”
Bohra set for FRegional European Championship debut with Trident (FRegional Europe)
‘Coming from a successful 2022 FRegional European Championship that saw the team win the rookie title, Trident will welcome rookie Nikhil Bohra for 2023 as he looks forward to making his series debut. The team, led by Maurizio Salvadori, will continue to run with three cars in the challenging European competition, with the goal of improving their fifth place in the 2022 team championship.’
Team champions Kevin Mills Racing confirm Jack Clifford in GB4 line-up (GB4)
‘Australian youngster Jack Clifford will make his European racing debut with Kevin Mills Racing in the 2023 GB4 championship. The 17-year-old is a graduate of Australian Formula Ford, having competed in three different categories in his homeland, in addition to several karting campaigns.’
F2-bound Bearman did “an amazing season” in F3, says Prema’s Rosin (Formula Scout)
‘Prema was not quite able to make it four FIA Formula 3 drivers’ titles in a row last year, but with Ollie Bearman it came close.’
Marc Surer über Hülkenberg-Comeback: ‘Hat noch eine Rechnung offen’ (Formel1.de)
‘F1 expert Marc Surer still has a lot of confidence in the German despite the longer break, as he reveals in a video call on the Formel1.de YouTube channel: ‘He’s a strong talent. In terms of speed, he usually manages it, full stop.’
F1 rarity: Lewis Hamilton signs an original Mercedes-AMG rear wing endplate from his world championship season (United Charity)
‘Now you have the opportunity to bid for an absolute rarity: An original rear wing endplate from the world champion’s W11 car from the 2020 championship season, personally signed by Lewis Hamilton.’
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem welcomes Cadillac and Andretti partnership’s intent to enter F1 (Arab News)
”If China enters F1 with a Chinese manufacturer, driver and an event, this is incredibly encouraging but equally, I respect existing teams’ budgets, and if I am convinced that any new entity does not consist of the right people or the right team, then we will protect the sport from having someone trying to enter who is not serious,” said Ben Sulayem.’
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