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As expected, FIA denies granting Colton Herta a Super License to race in F1 Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

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Formula One’s governing body on Friday said IndyCar star Colton Herta no super license will be granted that the American needs to join the F1 grid next season.

“The FIA ​​confirms that a request has been made through the appropriate channels, as a result of which the FIA ​​has confirmed that driver Colton Herta has not achieved the required number of points to obtain the FIA ​​Super License,” the FIA ​​said in a statement.

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The decision of the FIA ​​did not come as a surprise.

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Red Bull were interested in the 22-year-old Californian and were considering giving Hertha a spot on AlphaTauri, their youth team. AlphaTauri has already reported that Pierre Gasly will return next season, and Yuki Tsunoda has renewed his contract earlier this week.

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However, AlphaTauri has admitted that it will let Gasly go, who is apparently wanted by Alpine, but only if she has a convincing driver like Herta to get into the car. Formula One hasn’t had an American on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015, but Hertha didn’t particularly want the FIA ​​to make an exception to the licensing system to get him a seat.

The question is how the FIA ​​evaluates IndyCar, a series it does not run. The points he awards IndyCar drivers rank somewhere between F2 and F3, the two junior F1 feed series.

IndyCar riders have criticized the system in defense of Herta and the intense and tight racing in their highly competitive series. Herta has won seven IndyCar races, is the youngest winner in series history and has started four times in the Indianapolis 500. He qualified on the front row in 2021 and finished a career-best eighth in 2020.

Rossi, who has spent the past four seasons as a Herta teammate at Andretti Autosport, has been blunt about the licensing this week because “I’m so tired of this correspondence.”

“The whole idea was to keep people from buying their way into F1 and let talent be the motivating factor,” Rossi wrote on social media. “Great. We all agree that Colton has the talent and ability to be in Formula One. That’s great too and he should get the opportunity if it’s offered to him. Period.

“Motorsport is still the most popular sport in the world where money can outweigh talent. What is disappointing and, in my opinion, the main problem is that the sporting element has given way to business so often that a method had to be introduced here for certain teams to stop taking riders solely on the basis of their financial situation. support”.

Rossi added that these decisions, “whether out of greed or necessity, cost Colton the opportunity to make a decision about whether he wanted to change careers and race in Formula One. Not points on the license.

The system gives preference to riders who compete in FIA-sanctioned series. For example, Linus Lundqvist earned his super license by winning the Indy Lights championship.

Lundqvist’s required points come from the 15 points he earned for the Lights title, 10 points for third place in the Lights last year, and his 2020 win in the FIA-managed Formula Regional Americas Championship that gave him 18 points.

This gave the 23-year-old Swede a total of 43 points, three more than he needed for the license.

Hertha, meanwhile, ended the IndyCar season with 32 points. He can still earn a Super License by scoring one point for any free practice he does that year; McLaren owns his F1 rights and can put him in the car. Hertha could also potentially compete in the FIA-sanctioned winter series to score points.

Michael Andretti, who approached the FIA ​​to expand his grid and add two cars so he could build a team, said he never bothered to look into potential replacements for Herte on the IndyCar team because he was sure the super license request would be denied. .

Andretti met with strong opposition from existing F1 teams and even F1 itself in his hopes of adding an 11th team. Andretti could still get on the grid by buying an existing team, and he would like to build his program around Hertha, who has Andretti under an IndyCar contract until 2023.

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long and unique journey Tanner Faust went through in his first season in the Extreme E series when he took early season lessons in Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he learned his lessons well.

McLaren announced in February that it would expand its motorsport program with the Extreme E. They signed two talented rally drivers, Foust and Emma Gilmour, and put them on the first round in Neom, Saudi Arabia, with just a few days of testing behind them. Scorched by the sun of the Arabian desert, it was tested by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing to the final round and finishing in fifth place. As the Extreme E heads into another desert halfway across the globe to stage four, it’s time to catch up with Faust and ask about McLaren’s progress. Last weekend in one of the most extreme regions of the world – the Atacama Desert – the Copper X Prix competition was held.

MORE: McLaren Considers Kyle Busch For Indy 500

“The shock in the first race was the speed,” Faust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than what we tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles an hour [in race trim] and our test speeds were more in the 60 to 70 mile range. Then when we sort of got around that, the car was upgraded so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are beyond the control of the driver. Even peeking out from behind another car can be dangerous due to potholes that have recently been dug into the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout between the circles. A couple of flips got Foust back on the ground, but the speed was there, and that was important.

“We’ve had some issues this season,” Fust said ahead of the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; reached the final, which is not easy to do in this series. I had two throws in the first three competitions, but each time I added. Now we come into the 4th round in Chile with a pretty strong position. We have competitive moments in the team. We communicate and think very well about this Odyssey car.”

Fust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – the Extreme E version of the Last Chance qualifier – and did so after clearing the course. Similarly, he reached the Saudi Arabian final, but this time it was better. There were those hard-earned lessons to draw on, and Fust had representatives behind him. He wasn’t about to be taken by surprise by any random obstacles.

Tanner Faust passed Sebastien Loeb heading into the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnell/LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix final, he put pressure on one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

At the end of his stretch, after pitching sideways through a tight southpaw, Fust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastian Loeb as they headed into the switch zone. There he will hand over the car to his navigator Gilmour.

The Extreme E series is designed for male and female drivers, and both are behind the wheel.

After a driver change, Gilmour momentarily lost the lead to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutiérrez, but as they raced to the finish line, she took the lead and slipped under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team compared to this year,” Fust said after the race. “We struggled with some events being in the first year of competition. This weekend we showed real pace; Overtaking Sebastian Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma did a great job in the final. I was lucky enough to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then to first in the final, but with some penalty flags, 20 seconds were added to our time, putting us in fifth place. It was great to cross the finish line first, I love this wide track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum in Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez climbed to the top of the podiumbut the feeling of going under checkers first cannot be taken away.

Race responsibly

Since the invention of automobiles, racing has played a socially responsible role in improving safety. As the Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing must adapt to these new needs and demands, and this is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is about more than just racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to repair the damage caused by climate change and erase the footprints caused by the events.

Faust, a biologist at the University of Colorado, had the opportunity to rekindle his interest and pay tribute to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

Atacama is the oldest desert in the world, dating back 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth with the highest levels of ultraviolet radiation. Yet somehow life continues through underground rivers with oases dating back to Inca times. Fust was involved in preparing the local habitat for the reintroduction of the endangered water frog into Chile’s longest river, the Loa, meandering through the desert.

“I love this experience,” Faust said. “I put on a lot of chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I would never have come here otherwise.

“Honestly, I am honored to be a part of this sport. I firmly believe that motorsport has benefited us over the past 100 years. I think we benefit every time we put on our seatbelts and drive down the road to lessons learned from racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope that motorsport will continue this tradition.

“I think motorsport loves [Extreme E] does it in a responsible, gender-neutral and carbon-neutral way.”


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