The FIA was adamant, AlphaTauri pulled back, Colton Herta won’t be racing in F1 anytime soon. But the category continues to dream of an American driver. And the answer may lie in Formula 2.
Florida-born 21-year-old Logan Sargeant is close to achieving what Herta doesn’t have: super license points. Williams follows his steps carefully.
“I think he’s ready. Yes, he needs the score. If he doesn’t get the points, there’s nothing to do. But I’m confident he’s ready,” said Capito, the Williams boss, at Monza. “Today we’re not fighting up front, so we don’t need two experienced drivers. We can experiment a little and race with two young drivers,” he added.
One of the drivers in 2023 will be Albon, 26, whom Williams rescued from Red Bull’s basements and who has been doing a good job this season. The team is now looking for a replacement for Latifi. The Canadian never said what he came for, he has a bad championship and saw in Italy his chances of staying in F1 plummeting: he was beaten by De Vries, who had never competed in a GP.
After Monza’s feat, the Dutchman automatically became a candidate for the vacancy. But Red Bull got in on the act. And it all has to do with what is there at the beginning of this text: the inflexibility of the FIA to make an exception and grant the superlicence to Herta.
It’s a domino effect. Carefully follow…
The Californian, 10th in the recently ended IndyCar season, has 32 of the 40 points required by the FIA system to race in F1. He could get there by doing some free practice this season and competing in the Asian Regional Formula, which will run from January to February at tracks in the Middle East — fourth in the championship would be enough.
There are two problems there. The first, deadline: Red Bull needs a solution before then. The second, of pride: since 2019 at Indy, Herta doesn’t want to take a step back and compete in a basic category, with a much less powerful car. He prefers to resign himself and wait.
“I understand the position of the FIA, just as I understand that IndyCar is underrepresented in the super-licence scoring structure. But I accept that. I don’t want to become an exception,” he told Autosport over the weekend. “I’m not going to compete in a youth category after four seasons racing like a professional driver in a championship like Indy.”
Red Bull wanted Herta at AlphaTauri. That would release Gasly to Alpine.
The FIA’s denial coincided with De Vries’ show at Monza. And Marko, responsible for the pilots of the energy drink brand, wasted no time. Conversations are already taking place.
If all goes well, AlphaTauri will have Tsunoda and De Vries in 2023, while Alpine will race with a 100% French duo: Ocon and Gasly _who can’t be tolerated, by the way.
All this movement could throw Williams’ spot in the lap of Sargeant, who is part of the team’s development program and has already been scheduled for the first free practice in Austin.
With two stages to the end of Formula 2, he is third in the championship. To get the points needed for the super license, just finish fifth.
It would be strange, but not unheard of, to see the F2 champion waiting for a chance while a sidekick jumps the line and gets a spot in F1.
It happened last year. Zhou, third, got a seat at Alfa Romeo. Piastri, the vaunted 2021 champion, spent this season as an Alpine reserve.
What weighed heavily was the little flag on the belt of the jumpsuit. Liberty Media, which runs F1 commercially, has been dreaming of a Chinese driver for years, with an eye on the market in his country.
It’s exactly the same case now.
F1 wants an American. Herta tried, it didn’t work. Sargeant is next.