Mario Andretti: America would “go crazy” over Herta in F1

Racing icon Mario Andretti believes IndyCar star Colton Herta is “Formula 1 quality” and he’s “pushing like hell” to find an opportunity for the 21-year-old with a top F1 team.

Mario Andretti: America would “go crazy” over Herta in F1

Speaking exclusively to Autosport, 1978 F1 World Champion Andretti – whose family team ran Californian Herta to his fourth career IndyCar Series victory at St Petersburg on Sunday – says the news that a second grand prix in Miami will join Austin's United States GP on the 2022 F1 schedule is the perfect time for Herta to make the switch.

“I think America is probably the only country on the planet that can really properly host two Formula 1 races,” Andretti told Autosport.

“Quite honestly, I think F1’s fanbase in America is somewhat understated, but it needs to be perked up – and the only thing it’s really missing is an American driver.

“I’m pushing like hell for Colton. You’ve got to remember, Colton went to race in England when he was 15 years old, all by himself.

"That’s always been his objective [to get to F1] but he’s very quiet and unassuming, he’s not pushy, but I see a quality there – a Formula 1 quality.

“That’s from the word go – he’s a great qualifier, and that’s really important, from what I’ve seen the races he won at COTA and Laguna Seca, both races were won by raw speed.

"Not strategy, not fuel mileage, and he’s winning against the best IndyCar has to offer – Scott Dixon and Will Power – they were on him from the start, and he didn’t put a wheel wrong, all the pitstops were perfect.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

“I’m really a fan of Colton, I’m in his pit during the races, and he’s just very calm and collected. I love that. He adapts to everything, that’s a big key to everything.

"You hear people complaining – ‘it’s too slippery, it’s too windy’ – he just gets on with it, it’s the same for everybody, just find a freakin’ way to do it!

“And that’s what he does every time. I like that.”

Read Also:

Andretti thinks that placing America’s most exciting young open-wheel talent with a front-running team would mean the US would “go crazy for F1” – but questioned the current criteria for superlicence points system.

He also believes that Herta, who became the youngest-ever winner of an IndyCar race in 2019 at the age of 18, needs to make the move sooner rather than later.

“We’d need the American driver with a top team, not in the back with no chance,” Andretti added. “If you could get an American driver in F1, producing results, you’d have America going crazy for F1.

“Mercedes sells a lot of cars here, it’s a huge market, imagine what they could do with him? It would juice up the TV ratings too. But it has to happen within a year or so, or they’ll consider him to be too old.

“He’s 21, so it’s a great time, and I realise the lack of testing and licence restrictions. But, I mean, that Russian kid [Nikita Mazepin] gets a superlicence, and the guy who’s at the very top level over here can’t get one? There’s something wrong there!”

shares
comments

Related video

Red Bull: Mercedes trying to put pressure on us with favourite tag

Previous article

Red Bull: Mercedes trying to put pressure on us with favourite tag

Next article

Domenicali: F1’s cost cut efforts an example for football

Domenicali: F1’s cost cut efforts an example for football
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1 , IndyCar
Drivers Colton Herta
Author Charles Bradley
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory Plus

How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning Plus

The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning

Frank Gardner was the veteran of just eight grand prix starts. It could have been more, but why waste his talent if the cars weren't up to it? NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the life of one of racing's great characters

Formula 1
May 2, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Plus

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. MARK GALLAGHER analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao Plus

The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying

Formula 1
Apr 30, 2021