Colton Herta is one of the IndyCar Series’ top young drivers.
The 23-year-old Californian is the son of former driver Bryan Herta and is already a seven-time race winner.
He also finished third in the series championship in 2020, just his second full-time year in the series.
So it’s easy to see how Herta could be destined for bigger and better things. One of those things could well be spot on the Formula 1 grid.
Herta was linked to a potential Formula 1 ride with both the AlphaTauri team and the historic McLaren F1 team.
There was just one problem, however.
Herta wasn’t eligible to take either seat.
That’s because the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) has what’s called “super license” system. The system is designed to ensure all F1 drivers are up to standard.
The qualifications to obtain said license are as follows:
- A minimum age of 18 at the start of their first F1 competition.
- An existing holder of an International Grade A competition license.
- A holder of a valid driving license.
- Passing of an FIA theory test on knowledge of the F1 sporting codes and regulations when applying for the first time.
- Completed at least 80% of each of two full seasons of any of the single-seater Championships reported in Supplement 1 of the regulations.
- Accumulated at least 40 points over the previous three seasons in any combination of the championships reported in Supplement 1 of the regulations.
Herta met each of the first five qualifications, but not the sixth. This is due in part to the FIA devaluing the importance of the IndyCar Series.
Herta appealed the ruling, but the FIA shot down the appeal.
Fast forward to Thursday, when it was announced that Brad Pitt would drive an old Formula 1 car as part of an upcoming movie.
Brad Pitt will be driving an actual F1 car alongside the rest of the grid at Silverstone as part of the new movie that's in production.
Directors Jerry Bruckheimer and Joseph Kosinski will enter an "11th team" to film on track for the rest of the season. pic.twitter.com/iAzkvYnV7C
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) May 4, 2023
Herta was the first to make a joke about the situation.
Brad Pitt got a super license before me. Tough. https://t.co/r7gedm1esn
— Colton Herta (@ColtonHerta) May 4, 2023
But his fellow drivers weren’t fall behind.
Twitter of the year right here https://t.co/uqjo4AXx73
— Tony Kanaan (@TonyKanaan) May 4, 2023
— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin93) May 4, 2023
I feel compelled to remind the internet that YOU TOO can be Super License Eligible. https://t.co/YQuCRMpjZJ https://t.co/xa4lwPAT0F pic.twitter.com/K7DNrUzJd3
— Josef Newgarden (@josefnewgarden) May 4, 2023
The good news for Herta is that his F1 dreams are far from dead. He can still continue to accumulate Super License points in various ways. And his currently team owner, Michael Andretti, is hoping to join the Formula 1 grid in the coming years.
If he does so, you may yet see Colton Herta behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car. But for now, it’s Pitt and Herta’s fellow drivers who are getting the last laugh.