However, the energy drink giant’s plans hinged on Hertha obtaining the mandatory Formula 1 super license it needed to compete in Grand Prix races.
Formula One rules require him to have 40 Super License points from other categories, and at the end of the 2022 campaign he had just 32 points.
But with his winning form in IndyCar and success in other series, including a runner-up finish in the 2019 Indy Lights title chase, Red Bull felt he had the necessary skills and experience to race in Formula 1.
One of the arguments that he deserved a reprieve was that his final season in Indy Lights would have given him the points he needed to qualify for a super license if there had been more participation in the championship – something that was out of Hertha’s control.
However, amid some concern among F1 teams about the impact of Hertha’s release on other junior categories, the matter has become highly political.
Ferrari Team principal Mattia Binotto was open at the Italian Grand Prix when he said: “I think force majeure cannot be used for Hertha. This would be a completely wrong approach. The rules are in place to protect our sport and make sure we make the right process and choices for the sport itself.”
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda
Photo: Jake Galstad / Images of motor sports
The comments prompted a response from the FIA that it would not bow to external pressure on any decision it might make.
“No teams will put pressure on the FIA to make decisions on matters such as Super License points. The FIA president has implemented sound governance and we will follow that,” the spokesperson said.
However, amid growing signs that the FIA will reject the bid, Red Bull have decided to abandon their pursuit of Hertha for the time being.
Instead, Herta will wait out the final year of his IndyCar contract with Andretti in 2023 before considering his next steps.
While Herta knew his F1 dream was over for now, the FIA officially announced that his application for a super license exemption had been rejected.
An FIA spokesman said: “The FIA confirms that an inquiry has been made through the appropriate channels which has resulted in the FIA confirming that driver Colton Herta does not have the required number of points to obtain an FIA Super Licence.
“The FIA is constantly reviewing its rules and procedures, including in relation to super license eligibility, with safety, experience and performance in the context of the track being the main factors considered in this regard.”