Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it shouldn’t be that difficult for IndyCar drivers to get the super license they need to race in Formula 1.
Red Bull has replaced Colton Herta as a replacement for Pierre Gasly when the Frenchman joins Alpine, and team adviser Helmut Marko said agreements were in place with all parties while the FIA issued the American a super licence. Speaking on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast before interest in Herta died down, Horner noted that the 22-year-old’s performances in IndyCar clearly made him competent enough to race in F1.
“If you look at a year ago, it’s pretty amazing what he’s accomplished,” Horner said. “America is a huge market and we’re seeing that growth in sports. It would be great to give the best possible current American driver the opportunity to compete in Formula 1. Unfortunately, licensing restrictions will probably prevent this from happening.
“We will have to respect the FIA’s position – at the end of the day, it’s the FIA’s to look at. I know they do, but we will accept whatever decision they make. But it’s something to pay attention to, because it shouldn’t be that difficult for drivers to make the transition from the main American series to Formula 1.”
Interest in Hertha came after Alpine made an inquiry for Gasly instead of pursuing the available Daniel Ricciardo, but Horner says he is surprised Ottmar Schaffnauer’s side did not sign the Australian.
“I think I would (sign Ricciardo to Alpine), to be honest with you. Obviously they know him from a couple of seasons ago and he was very together during his last season there, scoring podiums. I think he’s the type of guy that can be rebuilt.
“Obviously it wasn’t a good experience for him (at McLaren) for whatever reason and you just have to think back to some of the races he did for us – some of his wins, some of the podiums, some of the stunning overtakes, that he was capable of – I’m sure they’re still there. He just needs a little reboot.
“As in all sports, confidence is an important element and for whatever reasons he didn’t get that feeling from the car and two sets of rules. It may have dented his confidence, but there’s still a very, very capable driver out there. You don’t just forget how to putt, so I hope for him he gets another opportunity and gets back on the net for next year.”