Colton Herta says he is shutting down reports of potentially joining AlphaTauri in F1

Colton Herta AlphaTauri

Colton Herta AlphaTauri

PORTLAND, Ore. — Colton Herta gets a buzz on his phone every time his name is linked to AlphaTauri with a Formula 1 seat next season.

The speculation is so widespread that Herta said on Friday he had stopped reading the reports. He has also informed his father, who is acting as his agent, not to inform him of any discussions and to leave him alone to complete the final two races of the IndyCar season.

“There’s nothing I want to talk about right now. I just want to focus on these last two weekends and have a little bit of time to relax and figure out what’s going on in the off-season,” Herta told The Associated Press. “I told my dad, he took care of all my management stuff, I said to him, ‘I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to deal with it, I just want to finish the season.’

“And then we’ll look at the options and see if I have any.”

The 22-year-old Californian is seen as a prime candidate to become the first American to step into the F1 grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015. Herta has a test contract with McLaren and in July took part in a two-day test for the team in Portimao in Portugal.

He currently has nothing else to do and McLaren officially won the rights to F2 champion Oscar Piastri as F1’s contract review body ruled on Friday that the Australian could leave Alpine. Piastri will be Lando Norris’ teammate for McLaren next season and that officially closed an option for Herta.

Herta has a year left on his IndyCar contract with Andretti Autosport, but team owner Michael Andretti has said he would not shy away from an F1 opportunity for his young driver. But Andretti trying to land his own F1 team to be built around Herta and was close to a deal to take over Alfa Romeo Racing last year.

When that deal fell through, Andretti shifted his focus to asking F1 to expand their grid to include two additional Andretti Global entrants for 22 cars across 11 teams. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said there had been several inquiries from interested parties wanting to join the grid.

Now there is speculation that both AlphaTauri could be up for sale, giving Andretti another chance to buy an existing team and that Herta is eyeing a seat. Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda are currently driving for AlphaTauri, but Gasly has been linked with joining Alpine as a replacement for Fernando Alonso.

Herta, who has seven career IndyCar wins and heads into Sunday’s penultimate race of the season in 10th place in the series standings, reiterated on Friday that he is pleased with racing in the United States. He also said that he would not take a seat in Formula 1 just to become a Formula 1 driver.

“That depends on many things. I want to be happy with where I am, where I live, with the team I’m with. I just need to be comfortable,” Herta told The AP. “There are many different factors that go into deciding when to switch teams and I haven’t started looking into that yet.

“I wouldn’t go there just to be there. I would need to understand exactly what I’m getting myself into, which I don’t know at the moment. So we’ll just have to wait and see what opportunities really exist for me.”

Herta initially followed European racing early in his career, moving to England alone as a teenager. But when his opportunities dried up, he returned to the United States ahead of the 2017 Indy Lights season, winning six races in two seasons.

It wasn’t enough to earn him the required points for the license required to compete in Formula 1 and although it has been circulated that the FIA ​​could examine his work and offer an exception to Herta, said he on Friday, he has no idea where it is from.

“There is so much talk and speculation that I get notifications on my phone all day. I just have them all say ‘read’ and I don’t even read the articles,” he said. “Honestly, everyone else knows more than I do at this point.”

Herta even declined to speculate about where he might race in 2023.

“No no. I mean, I have a contract with Andretti for next year and I don’t have anything else right now,” Herta said. “I think there are some guys in this series, even if they were offered an F1 seat, they wouldn’t want it because they love IndyCar racing so much. Nobody should be ashamed to be an IndyCar driver.”

Colton Herta says he is shutting down reports of potentially joining AlphaTauri in F1 originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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