American IndyCar driver Colton Herta has described the links being made to AlphaTauri and Red Bull in the driver market are “a bit of a surprise.”
In an interview with Autosport, Herta describes how he didn’t think he would be picked up as a driver of interest for Red Bull after Pierre Gasly was mooted to be making a move away from the team for 2023.
“I didn’t think I was on anyone else’s radar,” said Herta.
“I was a little bit surprised to hear about AlphaTauri interest when it initially came out.”
Herta impressed during test with McLaren
Earlier this year McLaren tested Herta in a 2021 car at the Algarve International Circuit, completing 162 laps and 749.7km over two days.
The team said how impressed they were with his times and preparation leading up to the test.
McLaren Car Performance Engineer, Mark Temple, said: “[Herta was] very professional, very attentive and very responsive.
“He was very good at discussing what was going on with the car.”
Super Licence only sticking point
The conditions for Herta to qualify for an F1 Super Licence are the only sticking points for him making his race debut with the team.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has made it clear that he has “no desire” to release Gasly from his contract with AlphaTauri if they can’t secure Herta.
Currently the American only has 35 points and drivers are required to have at least 40 to earn a Super Licence.
The FIA could give him dispensation under a force majeure scenario, but there is concerns over whether that could have a consequence on drivers racing in F1 support categories F3 and F2.
Former F2 driver and now IndyCar racer Callum Ilott says Herta should be given a Super Licence, after he also qualified for one before making a switch to the Stateside championship.