Domenicali against superlicence exemption for Herta


Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali has joined several F1 team bosses in opposing the FIA potentially granting a superlicence exemption to AlphaTauri prospect Colton Herta, insisting all teams "must respect the rules".

Andretti Autosport's Herta is being considered by Red Bull as a possible replacement for Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri if the Frenchman is released by the energy drink company and joins Alpine.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says the Enstone squad has yet to fulfill all the conditions demanded by Red Bull to secure Gasly's release.

But as discussions are ongoing, Marko has taken a keen interest in Herta as Gasly's potential successor.

However, the young IndyCar star only has 32 of the 40 points required to secure an F1 superlicence, a shortfall that has led the FIA, encouraged by Red Bull, to consider giving an exemption to the American driver.

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"I think we can prove that he is eligible for it," said Marko. "Let's see. It’s not yet done, the deal. But we will go for it.

"We are Red Bull and we are brave, and we will hopefully be successful with him."

However, several team bosses have expressed their opposition to such a scheme, with Alfa Romeo's Fred Vasseur arguing that he sees no reason for the FIA to consider Herta as a case of 'force majeur'.

"From my point of view it has nothing to do with force majeure," said Vasseur. "Because you had championships everywhere in the world that you were able to score points.

"Now, if the FIA want to stop the process of the points and the superlicence, that's another story.

"They can do it, it's up to them to decide if they want to stop the system. And we can survive without the system. But it's nothing to do for me with force majeure.

"I think that we have a system that if we want to change or if someone has a proposal to change the point attribution, that we can discuss it."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff echoed his Alfa colleague's view.

"It would be great to have an American in F1," he said. "And it obviously would give us a good boost in the US. But I think the points system is there for a reason.

“We don't want to create a system where you try to pick out series that have the least resistance, where the scoring ability is the highest.

"I think the F4/F3/F2 echelon is something that works for Europe."

Domenicali, whose opinion carries weight with the FIA, has made clear that the superlicence rules in place are there for a reason and must be followed, with no exemptions.

"The sport needs to respect the rules," said the F1 boss, quoted by

"And, of course, American drivers or other drivers are very important. If he is eligible to come in F1 because he has the points, it's fantastic news.

"But there is a ladder to follow, there is a protocol to respect, and that is the situation. So it's really what I believe is right to do."

Domenciali is also against a retroactive change to the points schedule used by the FIA to grant an F1 superlicence.

"I don't think it's right to change something retrospectively, I think it's the right thing to do to apply the rules," he insisted.

"And if there is some point to be to discussed, if there is a need to update the rules, there is the right forum on which everyone can bring ideas or points for discussion.

"But today, the rule is that one should be respected. That's my opinion."

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