Norris: 'Hooligan Herta' on another level in high-speed corners


Lando Norris is looking forward to Colton's Herta upcoming F1 test with McLaren, describing his former Carlin teammate as being "on another level" when it comes to high-speed corners.

Herta is touted as the next American driver to tackle Formula 1, an endeavor last undertaken by the 22-year-old Andretti Autosport driver's IndyCar teammate Alexander Rossi in 2015.

Many believe that Herta would already be racing in F1 had Andretti's plans to acquire Alfa Romeo-Sauber come to fruition last year.

A six-time IndyCar winner, the young American has never hidden his love for Formula 1, an infatuation that took hold during his formative years in motorsport in Europe when he raced alongside Norris as a 15-year-old in the F4 MSA Formula in the UK.

The McLaren driver remembers well the season spent with his Carlin teammate back then, and recalls one particular area on the track when Herta excelled.

"I grew up with Colton, end of 2014-2015 my first season of single seaters," said Norris, quoted by MotorsportWeek.

"And I mean, his nickname is Hooligan Herta because there’s one place he was extremely strong and that’s high-speed corners.

"I feel like I’m decent, one of my strengths is pretty high-speed corners. But he was just like, on another level in some sorts.

"He would quite often go off because of it and maybe not crash, but just go through the gravel and you know, we’d have to clean his car after because of how much dirt there was on it!

"But yeah, lovely guy, of course. But I grew up with him, you know, when I was younger for a good year and a half, two years. And just a bit crazy.

“Nice to see him, from where we were back in 2014, 2015, to now me myself being in Formula 1 and of course him winning races and being one of the stars in IndyCar."

Speculation is rife that the two young guns could be reunited at McLaren at some point in the future.

Herta, who embedded with the McLaren team in Miami last weekend, will get his first taste of Formula 1 later this year, running with Woking-based outfit as part of its 2021 Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) test programme.

But this year's sporting rule which mandates that F1 teams run a young driver in at least two free practice sessions over the course of the season could also see Herta - as well as Arrow McLaren SP charger Pato O'Ward - in action with McLaren on a Friday.

"It is great for us to test young drivers that we think have talent and deserve to get such a test, and Colton is definitely one of them," said McLaren F1 boss Andreas Seidl.

"The results he is producing in IndyCar speak for themselves. Now we are in the process of preparing him for that test.

"Jumping into a Formula 1 car is a big challenge, for various reasons—the physical side, and how quick these cars are."

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