IndyCar star Colton Herta is reportedly in line to test with the Alpine F1 team this season, although Red Bull is still hopeful of the American being granted a Superlicence to race in F1 with AlphaTauri next season.
Despite his successful track record in IndyCar, Herta does not currently qualify for an F1 Superlicence, having scored just 32 of the 40 points required to receive the special licence.
Red Bull has therefore lobbied the FIA for an exemption. However, several teams – including Mercedes and Ferrari – have expressed their opposition to a dispensation, while F1 boss Stefano Domenicali is also not in favour of Herta being given a free pass by the governing body.
Regardless of the outcome of the FIA’s decision, several reports claim that Alpine, which is seeking to hire Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri if Herta is given a Superlicence, will be giving the young American mileage onboard its 2021 car.
It is understood that Alpine, which has already scheduled and budgeted the remainder of the F1 test days that were assigned to Oscar Piastri as part of the latter’s development programme, will simply slot in Herta in place of the now McLaren-bound young driver.
However, earlier this year, McLaren enrolled Herta into its 2022 test programme under F1's Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) provision.
While the Andretti Autosport charger has already enjoyed two days of testing with the team in July at Portimao, he’llneed to be released by McLaren to run with Alpine this season.
If all goes according to plan, Herta is expected to enjoy his first test with Alpine at the Hungaroring before the end of the month, just ahead of next month’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Speaking at IndyCar’s season finale at Laguna Seca last weekend, Herta’s father, former driver and current team owner Bryan Herta, believes that a negative response by the FIA regarding a Superlicence exemption, would not spell the end of his son’s F1 dream.
"I don't think he considers his F1 dream is over whatever the FIA decides for now," Herta Sr said.
“It’s an incredible opportunity in front of him, as he is testing with McLaren F1 team, but he also recognises what he has with Andretti Autosport [in IndyCar] is also an incredible opportunity.
"It's important to remember he's going to be fine, no matter what. He's not going to be looking for sympathy."