F1: AlphaTauri prepared to give Herta FP1 runs to get him more SL points

IndyCar driver Colton Herta is 8 points short of qualifying for an F1 Super License.  40 points total are needed.

Today at Monza, Alpha Tauri team boss Franz Tost was asked, “There’s continued speculation about your driver lineup next year. What’s the latest on Pierre, first of all”?

Scuderia AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost attends the Team Principals Press Conference prior to final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 10, 2022 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The latest on Pierre is that he has a contract with us, as I said already the last time., and regarding Colton Herta, it’s a decision from the FIA whether he gets the Super license or not, and I hope that FIA will take this decision as soon as possible so that we know how to build up the team, and where to go for next year.

This is a decision from Red Bull, which driver they will bring into the team, but I think if it’s not Colton Herta, then Pierre Gasly will stay, and nothing will change.

Tost was then asked, “So what needs to happen for him to get that Super license? Does he need a dispensation? Do you need a rule change? and also as part of that, are you planning on running him in FP1 sessions to help get the numbers up”?

This is a question you have to ask the FIA because there’s a regulation, and if the FIA wants to change anything, then this is one side. We, from our side, will support it, of course. If it’s necessary to run in FP1, then we will run him in FP1. Yeah, we will do everything what is being requested.”

Has that been discussed, the FP1s?

Tost replied, “No, not until now.”

Drivers can also score one super license point by competing in a Formula 1 Free Practice session.

There are 6 races remaining on the 2022 F1 calendar, so between McLaren and AlphaTauri, Herta could score another 6 points before the year is out, bringing his total up to 38, two short of the 40 needed.

Colton Herta testing a year-old McLaren F1 car at Portimao

The FIA could theoretically decide that those 2018 results should count — it all depends on the opinions of the people who will ultimately make that decision.

In theory, the weighted rankings for super licenses exist as a way to evaluate a driver’s readiness for Formula 1. That’s why open-wheel racing series like Formula E or IndyCar are ranked higher than, say, IMSA GTD Pro or NASCAR Cup Series racing. There’s a more relevant transfer of skills from those open-wheel series to F1.

Regarding Herta’s situation, there’s a big debate about why IndyCar — a top-tier professional racing series — earns fewer super license points than Formula 2. The FIA hasn’t given any official answer for why that is, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First, these points were developed almost a decade ago, during which time IndyCar was still recovering from a messy split and reunification of the series. While the FIA intended to update the points it awards to certain series to more accurately reflect the competition in those series, it has not yet done so.

Second, Formula 2 is a feeder series to F1, so organizers naturally view it as the penultimate step on the road to F1, more so than IndyCar. Finally, the FIA is primed to give more credence to other FIA series, simply because they race under the same general rule book regarding things like points payouts for race wins. Because IndyCar is not sanctioned by the FIA, it runs on a different set of rules.

Theoretically, if you strip away the oval races in the IndyCar championship (which obviously is a skill set that doesn’t directly translate to F1), Herta has 66 Super License points. The F1 pundits do not realize just how much ONE OVAL RACE (the Indy 500 and its double points) weighs on the IndyCar championship.

Herta clearly deserves the F1 license.


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