Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it shouldn’t be so difficult for IndyCar drivers to obtain the Super License required to race in Formula 1.
Colton Herta was lined up by Red Bull as a replacement for Pierre Gasly if the Frenchman joins Alpine, with team advisor Helmut Marko saying agreements were in place with all parties as long as the FIA granted the American a Super License. Speaking to F1’s “Beyond the Grid” podcast before interest in Herta calmed down, Horner pointed out that the 22-year-old’s performances in IndyCar clearly made him competent enough to race in F1.
“If you look a year ago it’s quite stunning what he was achieving,” Horner said. “America is a huge market and we’re seeing that growth in the sport. It would be great to give arguably the best current American driver an opportunity in Formula 1. Unfortunately, the licensing restrictions will probably prevent that from happening.
“We’ll have to respect the FIA’s stance — at the end of the day that’s down to the FIA to look at. I know that they’re doing that but we’ll accept whichever decision they come up with. But it’s something that needs looking at because it shouldn’t be so hard for drivers to transition from America’s premier series into Formula 1.”
Interest in Herta came as Alpine inquired about Gasly instead of pursuing the available Daniel Ricciardo, but Horner says he’s surprised Otmar Szafnauer’s team did not pick up the Australian.
“I think I probably would (sign Ricciardo at Alpine) to be honest with you. They obviously know him from a couple of seasons ago and he was very together during his last season there, scoring podiums. He’s the type of guy that I think you could rebuild him.
“It’s obviously not been a great experience for him (at McLaren) for whatever reason and you’ve just got to think back to some of the drives he did for us — some of the wins he had, some of the podiums, some of the stunning overtakes that he was capable of — that’s still in there, I’m sure. It just needs a bit of a reset.
“Like in all sports, confidence is a big element and for whatever reasons he hasn’t got the feeling from the car, and across two sets of regulations. That’s probably eked away at his confidence, but there’s still a very, very capable driver in there. You don’t just forget how to deliver, so I hope for him he gets another opportunity and gets himself back on the grid for next year.”