The 22-year-old Indicar driver completed a two-day test with McLaren at the Portuguese circuit in Portmino on Tuesday when Colton Hart made the biggest jump ever in an attempt to bring the American man back to Formula One.
Before leaving with various tire compounds, setups and handling packages, Herta spent most of the first day accelerating the older version of the F1 car. He made 162 laps of about 750 kilometers (466 miles), giving McLaren a good estimate of the potential of the best youngsters outside the European feeder system.
“I mean, it’s good to see how Colton is tackling all of these challenges and his professional approach,” said Andreas Seidel, the McLaren team principle. “Knowing how challenging a Formula One car can be on a track like the Portmino, his physical preparation allowed him to run for two days.”
Despite the growing popularity of the F1 in the US, where three races are coming soon, there has been no American driver on the grid since current IndyCar star Alexander Rossi passed away in 2015.
Herta made it clear during a conference call to reporters that he wanted to move on.
“It’s hard not to get in a race car and drive as fast as possible. When I got here the goal was the same: to adapt, to speed up and see what I could do in a race car,” he said. “The driving was very special, it was handled beautifully, I was able to make some setup adjustments in the afternoon and get more of it to my liking. But yes, you always want to show how fast you can drive a race car. This is the situation. “
In such a situation, the situation can become very funny.
Lando Norris, who moved to Formula 4 with Herta in 2015, has a contract with McLaren until 2025, but Daniel Ricardo’s contract expires next year. And given the disappointing performances so far this season, there is some speculation that the two sides may part ways before the start of next season.
Herta is not alone for the open seat. McLaren development driver Will Stevens is one option, while another IndyCar star, Pato O’Word, was testing for the team before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of last year’s F1 season.
Herta and O’Word’s next move could come during a free practice session in the 2022 car seat at the Grand Prix weekend later this year; The series returns to the United States in October for a race at the Circuit of America in Texas.
“In terms of further testing opportunities for Pato, we’re evaluating something like this,” Siddle said. “He had a good test with us in Abu Dhabi last year. We were very happy with how Pato prepared himself for that exam.
Both Herta and O’Word have won the IndyCar this weekend in Toronto, although the 23-year-old Mexican driver maintained more consistency with four top-5 finishes in fifth place. Herta is currently ranked 10th.
“It’s a good test to see what these cars are like and what the physical differences are between the Indicars,” Herta said. “This is my goal (of the F1 race). That and luckily McLaren gave me a chance. “