Herta considered junior series return in quest for F1 superlicence points | RaceFans Round-up


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.

In brief

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.

Nyck de Vries will race the car Herta missed out on

“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

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test
Shwartzman drove for Ferrari in practice last year

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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