McLaren F1 signs American driver Hertha for test program

American racer Colton Herta was announced Saturday as a test driver for F1 Team McLaren as part of the 2022 program.

Hertha, who turns 22 at the end of the month, is currently competing in IndyCar for Andretti Autosport. Both Michael and Mario Andretti believe that second-generation racers are F1 material and would like to move him to the series if Michael Andretti lands on the F1 team.

Meanwhile, McLaren will use him under new F1 regulations that allow the team to test a year-old car under the “test previous car” clause. The McLaren TPC program gives the team the option to test potential drivers and assess future young talent.

“Colton has a proven talent in IndyCar and wants to know how he adapts to a Formula 1 car,” said Andreas Seidl, principal of McLaren. Car testing to showcase promising drivers in the future. “

Hertha does not have the points needed to obtain the FIA ​​license needed to compete in F1. He became the youngest winner in IndyCar history in 2019, when he won the Circuit of the Americas a few days before his 19th birthday.

“I’m happy to see this opportunity gather for Colton, and I’m looking forward to seeing him take his first lap in an F1 car,” said Michael Andretti. “Practice time at the McLaren F1 will help Colton provide valuable FIA ​​Super License points. This is our goal to continue our efforts to bring the Andretti brand back to the F1 World Championship.”

The Californian is the son of IndyCar strategist and former racer Bryan Herta. He has won six IndyCar races and seven poles and is considered a candidate for the IndyCar title.

Hertha hopes to race in F1 in the near future so that she still has a runway long enough to return to IndyCar to complete her career. He drove the closing stint to win the class at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January, teamed up with Jimmie Johnson, and won a great second place in the United States at the Race of Champions.

“I would like to thank McLaren for giving me the opportunity to win my first lap with an F1 car that is always on the racing bucket list,” Hertha said. A new form of motorsport, learn from an established team like the McLaren F1. “

Hertha’s deal is wrinkling that current McLaren IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward wants to move to F1. O’Ward and Hertha were former teammates and Rolex car teammates who won the championship in January. O’Ward is also trying to get an F1 license.

McLaren representative Zak Brown said last month that both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo have long-term contracts and there are no F1 seats available. Ricardo is believed to have been signed until 2023. Norris signed the extension from January to 2025.

“We want to have a test program for young drivers like we did in the past. Family pats are natural,” Brown said. “Currently there are no vacant seats. Rand has a very long-term contract. Daniel, I have a couple of years already, so there are no imminent vacant seats.

“Weird things happened to give Pato a little time because we don’t know if the driver will get hurt or get infected with COVID. But what we don’t do is the IndyCar team. It’s a complete compromise, so I can’t bring Pato from IndyCar to F1, because IndyCar, like F1, is just as important as Extreme to be competitive. It’s not a place for F1 training. “


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