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Herta: Missed IndyCar points chances not made worse by F1 superlicence situation

Colton Herta says several "heartbreaking" lost opportunities to score points in the 2022 IndyCar season weren't made any worse by the implications on championship positions for a Formula 1 superlicence.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

The Andretti Autosport driver has been linked with a switch to F1 in 2023 and has been courted by AlphaTauri, as Pierre Gasly has been linked with a move to Alpine to replace Fernando Alonso, but Autosport understands he will only be allowed to move on if a superlicence for Herta is granted.

Herta is not eligible for a superlicence under the current points system, and rival team bosses have indicated that the FIA should stick to the rules and not make an exception for force majeure.

The 22-year-old is currently eighth in the 2022 standings with one round to go at Laguna Seca this weekend after what he admits has been a “pretty disappointing” season in which he's only secured one victory at the Indianapolis road course.

However Herta, who told Autosport that “it was a bit of a surprise to hear” of Red Bull's interest in him, said the knowledge his IndyCar championship position counts toward points for an FIA superlicense makes little difference to his emotions.

“No, I was never focused on that, feeling I need maximum IndyCar points to earn superlicense points,” he explained to Autosport.

“I felt that thinking like that would hurt in the long run. I was just disappointed with how things went for us, whether it was in my control or out of my control.

“It was just hurtful that week after week the team gave us good cars, usually, and we didn’t or couldn’t maximise our opportunities. It was sad for all of us.”

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Herta cites Long Beach, the Indianapolis 500 and the second race on the Indy road course as the events that have left him languishing by his standards.

At Long Beach, after taking pole, he was jumped by a couple of cars in a pitstop sequence and crashed while running third.

At IndyCar's blue ribband, he started only 25th after an engine let go on his first qualifying run, then suffered a shunt in Carb Day practice that turned him upside down and left him with no more track time to fine-tune his backup car before the race. He retired his viciously loose car on lap 129 and was classified a mere 30th.

On IndyCar's second visit to the IMS road course in July, he'd progressed from 16th to the lead when another mechanical gremlin put him out.

“At Indy [500], after the first engine let go, we didn’t have a chance to go through the conditioning process and get the new engine’s settings back where we wanted them, so that may have had a lot to do with why we weren’t good in qualifying,” Herta said.

“Long Beach was obviously somewhere I totally messed up, could have had a podium there.

“And then in the second race on the Indy road course, I think I had it, maybe Alex [Rossi] would have caught me, but whatever, between us we had the fastest cars in the place.

“So that’s three races where we finished almost dead last, and one of them is worth double-points. It was heartbreaking for the points situation.”

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