US Grand Prix boss: Colton Herta’s ‘final F1 chapter’ not yet written

Colton Herta looks sideways. United States, February 2022.

Bobby Epstein, chairman of the Circuit of The Americas, thinks Colton Herta still has a chance of making it to Formula 1 even if he is unable to get on the grid in 2023.

The IndyCar driver’s name had been linked with a move to AlphaTauri to partner Yuki Tsunoda next season, which would pave a way for Pierre Gasly to move to Alpine in the process, but the FIA have confirmed he does not meet the Super Licence requirements needed for him to race in Formula 1 next season, holding 32 of the 40 points required.

This has shut the door on Herta’s Formula 1 prospects for now, but he had said previously he did not want to appear in Formula 1 as an “exception” to the rules in place, with former World Champion Mario Andretti telling PlanetF1 about his hopes to see IndyCar better rewarded in the points system to begin with.

“I don’t think the final chapter has been written on that story yet,” Epstein said to The Race in an interview.

“So I hope we see him in Formula 1 in the future, even though it may not be next year.

“I’d love to see him on the grid, especially in a team that’s competitive. That’s equally important.”

The news of Herta not being approved was met with heavy criticism from within the IndyCar circle, with former F1 driver Alexander Rossi claiming “past decisions based on greed” had prevented the 22-year-old from making the switch.

Epstein explained having another American driver in Formula 1 would naturally increase the level of interest in the sport Stateside, but that would only be sustained if Herta found himself in a position to be able to compete high up the field.

Colton Herta wins the Monterey Grand Prix 2021. Indycar. Monterey, September 2021.

However, Epstein still hopes to see an American take the lesser-trodden path to Formula 1 from IndyCar.

“I’ve been asked like 1,000 times or whatever the question about the American driver,” Epstein said of the differences between coming through the ranks in the States or in European feeder series.

“And nobody has pointed out the difference! It’s a big difference if you come through [racing in America].

“Because Alexander came through the other direction and wound up in IndyCar, right? And people didn’t notice Rossi there [in F1].

“So that would be unique. And that would be really helpful if they came through IndyCar rather than the traditional F1 feeder series.

“There’s a bump there. It might only last one year, that bump of interest, unless he’s competitive.

“But there certainly would be the bump you would get from someone coming from IndyCar and stepping forward, rather than just from the feeder series in Europe, if there’s an American that went over there [from US racing].”

Read more: Mario Andretti exclusive: On the continued push for F1 2024 and ‘disrespect’ from the paddock

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