Following the drama pilot Alpine, Red Bull was ready to release Pierre Gasly out of his 2023 contract to join the Enstone team, but only if he can get multiple IndyCar race winner Hertha to replace him in the AlphaTauri.
But with Hertha only having 32 Super License points out of the 40 required to race in Formula 1, that avenue appears to have closed as The FIA said it would not make any exceptions for the American.
This drew angry comments from Red Bull’s Helmut Mark, who said it was “unclear” that the winner of seven IndyCar races could not get a license and that it was a missed opportunity to attract a talented American driver to F1.
McLaren’s Brown, who competes for the Arrow McLaren SP team in IndyCar, ran Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver Herta in the year’s McLaren F1 car, but was prepared to let him go at Alpine.
Speaking to some media at the IndyCar finale in Laguna Seca, he said “the whole licensing system needs to be reviewed” as he felt IndyCar was undervalued compared to Formula 2.
Both IndyCar and the Formula 2 champion receive the required 40 points for a super license, but IndyCar, starting from second down, is valued less than the main feeder series Formula 1, despite its stronger pedigree.
“I understand the rules are what they are and those rules shouldn’t be broken, but I doubt they’re the right rules just because they’re in place,” he said.
“Someone the caliber of Colton or Pato [O’Ward] caliber or half [IndyCar] fields capable of Formula 1.
“If someone like Colton, who has won a lot of IndyCar races, is not eligible for a super license, I think we need to rethink the super license system.”
Brown points out that world champions Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen, who entered the sport at a young age and missed out on racing at Formula 2 or equivalent level entirely, would also be ineligible for a grand prix if the current system were in place. they participated in the Grand Prix racing.
Raikkonen shone in his inaugural F1 season with Sauber in 2001, fresh from winning the British Formula Renault 2.0 Championship
Photo: Images of motor sports
“I don’t think Max Verstappen would be eligible for a super licence, I don’t think Kimi Raikkonen would be eligible for a super licence,” Brown said.
“So if you go back and look, there are a few guys, world champions, who wouldn’t get a super license in today’s environment.”
McLaren was willing to allow Herta to test with Alpine at the Hungaroring to further gain experience, but it’s understood the run is also on hold now that an F1 spot isn’t materializing.
Hertha could still be in for a free practice session at the upcoming F1 races as McLaren still have to fulfill their commitment to put the rookie in the seat for Friday’s two FP1 sessions.
Oscar Piastri, who was hired by McLaren for 2023, is still under contract with Alpine.
So Hertha and other IndyCar stars, as well as McLaren F1 testers O’Ward and Alex Palou – who this week it has been confirmed that he will remain with Chip Ganassi Racing next year – the main candidates for these two places.
“I wouldn’t rule Colton out, but anything we do will be in the best interest of McLaren, not to help AlphaTauri,” added Brown.
“Who we include depends on the knowledge of the track. Obviously, Pato in Mexico is the scenario.”