Colton Herta, McLaren, Algarve International Circuit, 2022

Herta makes F1 test debut for McLaren at Algarve

2022 F1 season

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Colton Herta, one of the leading American drivers in the IndyCar series, is testing for McLaren at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal this week.

McLaren are running the 22-year-old in one of last year’s MCL35Ms. He is sharing the car with the team’s test and development driver Will Stevens, who raced in F1 in 2014 and 2015 for Caterham and Manor.

Herta was briefly tipped for a move into F1 this season when his IndyCar team Andretti investigated buying the Sauber team, which runs Alfa Romeo’s entry, last year.

Lando Norris, who was Herta’s team mate at Carlin in the MSA Formula (now British Formula 4) series in 2015, said an F1 opportunity for him would be “fully deserved.”

“We have a lot of great memories together and I know how good a driver he is,” said Norris. “I think he’s showing that in IndyCar at the minute.”

However transitioning from IndyCar would present several challenges for Herta, said Norris, including the differences between F1’s Pirelli rubber and the Firestones he is used to.

“It’s different driving styles, I think he would have to adapt,” said Norris. “He’s not been known, maybe, to be a tyre lover. I think that’s something you would have to get used to when he comes and drives on Pirellis.

“But apart from that he’s got a lot of talent, he’s a lovely guy, hard worker as well. And I think he’s very suited to be able to perform at the level you need to be in Formula 1.”

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Pictures: Colton Herta’s McLaren F1 test debut

Colton Herta, McLaren, Algarve International Circuit, 2022
Colton Herta, McLaren, Algarve International Circuit, 2022

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 21 comments on “Herta makes F1 test debut for McLaren at Algarve”

    1. Colton Herta is not currently on pace to finish high enough in Indycar to get the superlicense points he needs.

      Which makes this whole exercise even more theoretical than last year’s Abu Dhabi run for Pato O’Ward.

      1. @proesterchen Indeed. He needs to finish 5th at the lowest to reach 40 SL pts & is 44 pts behind that position, coincidently held by Pato, although slightly lower than P5 would be enough, depending on how many FP1s he’d possibly do as these sessions give a point each.
        Nevertheless, a more realistic chance for 2024, with the planned Andretti entry.

      2. I thought Pato’s run in F1 machinery was simply a reward from Zak Brown for getting McLaren’s first IndyCar win since joining the series full time.

    2. Until today, I didn’t know Will Stevens is a test-&-development driver for Mclaren & has been since 2018 after little Googling.

    3. Interesting, in the 2015 MSA champioship, Lanso was 1st, Colton – who was a year younger – was 3rd.
      Colton had a slow start in the season, but slightly outscored Lando in the second part of the season, in which they were both equal on wins with 4 each, but Colton had more other podium finishes (6:4).
      3 of 4 Colton’s wins came with Lando in the 2nd place behind him.
      3 of 4 Lando’s wins came with Colton in the 2nd or 3rd place behind him.
      That’s in the last 15 of 30 races in the season.

      That shows what kind of talent Herta is for all of you who don’t follow IndyCar, whilst Lando Norris is currently considered one of F1’s biggest talents.
      Also, Herta is currently 10th in the IndyCar standings, racing in his 4th season there, with everybody on pretty much equal machinery. Shows you the level of talent in IndyCar.
      Lando is 7th in the F1 standings, for what it’s worth.

      1. Ericsson is 1st in the Indycar standings, for what it’s worth.

        1. Ericsson drives for one of the best teams in IndyCar, if not the best team, for what its worth.

          1. I was referring to his comment about the ‘pretty much equal machinery’. I know the IndyCar teams aren’t really equal. If we are going to take the car/team performance into account I would rate Lando’s 7th place in F1 higher then Colton’s 10th in IndyCar.

            Also, Colton finished higher up the standings in previous years. So bottom line for me would be that it’s pretty meaningless to compare Lando and Colton. There are racing in two very different series now. And the time they raced in the same is a long time ago, so they developed (probably) in a very different way.

      2. Herta is fast but not exactly dominating Indycar.
        I watched him crash out of some races while leading and also dive bombing on attempting overtakes.
        I think Norris has as much driving talent and is better when it comes to racing smarts.
        Herta is a daredevil of sorts – a loose cannon.
        Anyway, Zak is too smart to pair him with Lando.
        Andretti is his best chance but it’s doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon.

        1. “I watched him crash out of some races while leading and also dive bombing on attempting overtakes.
          Herta is a daredevil of sorts – a loose cannon.”

          He certainly is a daredevil. Maybe he is like Jean Alesi or maybe he is like the Brazilian named Ayrton ;)

          “I think Norris has as much driving talent and is better when it comes to racing smarts.”
          – Nah, their common history shows nothing like that. And you simply cannot compare IndyCar – which demands some of the hardest, most competetive on-track battles in motorsport – to the static, predictable, uncompetetive F1 races.

    4. Also Marcus Ericsson is leading the IndyCar standings at the moment and he was a nobody for years in F1. I think it’s just a different skill set required for each series. Some drivers are good in one category and not the other, and only few really became stars in both. Newgarden is another example of someone who didn’t excel racing in Europe but is one of the best IndyCar drivers.

      1. Marcus has had a good season, but its taken him 3 years of improving his craft. He drove crap cars when he was in F1.

      2. This comment tells me you don’t follow Indycar

        1. Exactly. Ericsson drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, probably the best team in IndyCar at the moment. People think that it doesn’t matter what team you drive for in IndyCar because “its a spec series” but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Being in the right team is key to being successful in IndyCar, just like it is in F1.

    5. Mark in Florida
      12th July 2022, 16:25

      I think we are also maybe missing a salient point in all of this. Colton doesn’t have a chance at F1. He doesn’t have the license points to get into F1 and with all the anti American hate that F1 has right now they aren’t looking to give him an exemption to get one. I think it’s Zac Brown’s way of seeing if Ricciardo is as bad as he thinks he is. If Colton does well and is somewhat close to what Lando did in the car then DR is going to be out of a job.

    6. Anti-American hate? Adding a second US race is an odd way to show you despise the most important advertising market for the sport…

      1. Mark in Florida
        12th July 2022, 18:30

        I think they want the money of course. America is a huge market. But look at the reaction to Andretti trying to come into F1. You would think he was a parolled criminal that was applying for a job. Andretti is one of the most respected teams in America. His father was a little known racer named Mario. So yeah I would say that the reaction of the F1 teams to a lowly American wanting to join the ranks pretty much says it all in my opinion. F1 is pretty much only for the European set. I know Haas is there but they have Gunther who is from there and they aren’t a threat to anyone. Michael is serious about racing, it’s not about advertising it’s about winning. I don’t think that Merc and company want that. So to me the message is send your money not your teams.

      2. From the Liberty perspective they are very pro-US but the FIA seem very keen to control the series that give out the kind of points that qualify you for a superlicence. Therefore the system disadvantages US drivers unless they commit to the Euro-centric F4/F3/F2 early on and persist with it.

        1. Sure, the driver who is a mere 9 positions behind legendary Formula 1 racer Marcus Ericsson in Indycar is being disadvantaged by needing to improve his results because of where he was born.

          🤷‍♂️

          1. Ericsson is having a strong year. He also has three wins in 55 races. Grosjean is still seeking his first win. F1 drivers who come to IndyCar don’t exactly mop the floor with the competition. And what chance did Ericsson have to win in F1? Would Hamilton have won a single race driving the cars Ericsson was driving?
            Herta is on a team that isn’t performing well this year. Ericsson is on a team doing well. In that sense, it’s a lot like F1.

    7. The 2022 livery looks dope on last year’s car!

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