Who is Colton Herta? IndyCar star linked with possible F1 switch

Jake Nichol October 9, 2021
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

A star of IndyCar in the United States, Colton Herta has been heavily linked with a switch to F1, but who is he, which team could he drive for, and what is the big stumbling block to any move?

Colton Herta F1 switch possible thanks to Andretti Sauber interest

Herta, who was born on March 30th, 2000, in California has become linked with a possible vacancy at Sauber/Alfa Romeo in F1.

The links have come from his current IndyCar boss, Michael Andretti being involved in negotiations to invest in the Alfa Romeo F1 squad.

Herta currently drives for powerhouse Andretti Autosport in IndyCar, with a seat vacant at Alfa Romeo/Sauber.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 3 | F1 Netflix | Official Trailer

Valtteri Bottas is confirmed at Alfa Romeo for 2022, although Antonio Giovinazzi’s long-term future is uncertain.

Should Andretti’s investment be completed, it would be a logical next step to bring Herta, who has been linked with F1 before, over to race.

Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Since arriving in IndyCar in 2018, Herta has carved himself a reputation as the rising star of the series.

F1 is keen to get an American driver into competitive machinery to continue to build on the foundations in the country.

It has recently announced a new grand prix in Miami, as Netflix’s Drive to Survive series continues to bring in new fans.

The last American driver to start a GP was Alexander Rossi in 2015, for the uncompetitive Manor squad.

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Potential stumbling block to Herta F1 switch

There is one stumbling block which can prevent Herta making a move to F1 – his lack of super licence points.

Introduced by the FIA to ensure qualified drivers reach F1, any driver must accumulate 40 points over a three year period, with each series getting a different weighting of points.

Herta currently has 32 to his name.

He would require some free practice outings in F1 to ensure he reaches the threshold.

If not, the FIA could waive the requirement, as Herta is clearly qualified to race in F1.

Where has Colton Herta raced before F1 switch rumours?

Herta began his racing career following the traditional route of karting and junior single-seaters.

In 2015, he moved across to Europe to compete in MSA Formula Championship Series.

His teammate that year was current McLaren F1 star Lando Norris.

In 2017, Herta returned to the United States, to compete in Indy Lights – think Formula Two to IndyCar’s F1.

He finished third and second in his two seasons in Indy Lights, making his IndyCar debut at Sonoma in 2018.

Driving for the Andretti-affiliated Harding Steinbrenner Racing in 2019, he became IndyCar’s youngest ever winner.

At the series’ first ever race at Circuit of the Americas, he took the win, and another at Laguna Seca in the finale.

In 2020, he claimed just a single win, before adding three in 2021, including the final two races of the season.

His best position in the IndyCar standings is eighth in 2020.

He also recorded his best Indy 500 finish that year, claiming eighth.

Colton Herta’s IndyCar wins by year:

  • 2019 – two – (Circuit of the Americas, Laguna Seca)
  • 2020 – one – (Mid-Ohio)
  • 2021 – three – (St. Petersburg, Laguna Seca, Long Beach)
Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

Anything else I need to know about Herta?

His Dad is former CART and IndyCar driver Bryan Herta.

Bryan serves as Colton’s race strategist at Andretti.

Herta Sr competed in the mid-1990s, and was part of one of the most memorable overtakes in American motorsport.

At Laguna Seca in 1996, Herta was passed, on the inside by Alex Zanardi at “the corkscrew.”

It is simply referred to as “the pass” even 25 years later.

Colton also plays in a band on the West coast of the United States.

He plays the drums in the band called “The Zibs” whose specialty is rock music.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.