Helmut Marko was keen to sign 22-year-old American Colton Herta as a replacement for Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri, but the dream was officially dashed on Friday after the FIA confirmed the seven-time IndyCar race winner was ineligible without the required 40 points.
By Rachel Steinberg
Chadwick, who tested an Indy Lights car for the first time on Wednesday, questioned if refusing to consider the Andretti driver was the right call.
“It’s a shame he wasn’t given the opportunity not because of the team not wanting him or anything like that,” said the W Series champion, before the official verdict was handed down.
“Colton’s situation wasn’t the situation or the reason why Super Licence points or the Super Licence was brought in. But I think it’s good that we can learn from this. I think there’s a clear desire to have drivers from IndyCar move over into Formula 1 still in the future. From what I’ve read both the teams and Formula 1 do want to see that kind of crossover. It’s something that will hopefully be addressed for the future and will allow in the future drivers to cross over more easily from America to Europe.”
An FIA spokesperson confirmed on Friday that “an enquiry was made via the appropriate channels that led to the FIA confirming that the driver Colton Herta does not have the required number of points to be granted an FIA Super Licence.
“The FIA continuously reviews its regulations and procedures, including with respect to Super Licence eligibility, with the main factors being considered with respect to this topic being safety, experience and performance in the context of the pathway.”
Indy Lights Testing
Chadwick and Herta’s careers have, especially in recent days, felt like mirror images. As Red Bull reportedly appealed for permission for the Californian to leap across the pond, the Brit suited up for her first Indy Lights test in Florida. Their two roads, ultimately, converge at Andretti, who invited the two-time W Series champion for a spin at Sebring International Raceway.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the physicality of it,” she said. “I think I’ve been scared off a little bit. A lot of people said it’s a really big, heavy car. It definitely is a step up in terms of anything I’ve driven before in terms of power and probably weight. The weight wasn’t so bad, but that said the race is very long and the conditions when we tested were pretty hot, it was 30 degrees.
“It was definitely a physical car but we did complete a really good test programme, so in that sense I was really happy, I felt like I could get comfortable with the car and drive the car how I wanted to without too much limitation physically which is something that I was really happy with.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done from my side to do next year but I think the main thing with that is I know the long races and the amount of testing that you get in Indy Lights, it could put me in a really good position for the year after to make another step up, having that extra time to develop both physically and driver-wise.
Road to F1 – 5 year plan
Chadwick also hopes a chance to test her ability on an oval track will present itself in the near future.
“I feel like it’s something that all drivers think about when they go over to America,” she said. “So of course I want to have the opportunity to test and see how I go. In the Indy Lights calendar they don’t do the Superspeedway so it’s a little bit less intense in that sense, but still something that I’m excited by that I want to have the opportunity to test.”
For now, Chadwick remains focused on securing her third consecutive W Series title, something she could well achieve next weekend during W Series’ Asian debut in Singapore should she finish higher than Alice Powell, Beitske Visser and Abbi Pulling.
Then it might finally be time for the Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year finalist to finally focus on what will happen after her likely departure from the series that made her a star.
“I think now, after the opportunity with W Series we’re in a really nice position which I’ve not been in ever in my career,” she added. “So I can only be grateful to W Series for that rather than looking at it as, oh, it’s taken me three years. It’s still an opportunity and I’m still now in this position to hopefully progress forwards.
“My goal is definitely to try to make it [to F1] within five years, so we’ll see. There’s a lot I need to achieve in that time, but my goal is still very much to go through the correct feeder series and have success in that to be in Formula 1 within five years.”
Header photo credit: W Series
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