IndyCar racing sensation Colton Herta will spend the next two days testing McLaren’s MCL35M
Colton Herta who races for the for the Andretti Autosport team in IndyCar will spend the next two days trialling for McLaren at the Portimao circuit in Portugal, with an eye on competing in Formula 1 in the future.
The test should serve as as a preliminary step to help the American take part in a few official practice sessions later in the year.
The highly-rated American will test McLaren‘s 2020 challenger, the MCL35M. The FIA allow for young and upcoming drivers to test cars from previous years as they look to get a feel for how a Formula 1 car drives.
While there are similarities between Indy and F1 cars, it is important to note that the latter experiences significantly higher G-Forces, has a power steering and comes with a lot more downforce.
Does Herta have a long term future with McLaren?
While Herta‘s speed, age (22) and talent have caught the attention of McLaren‘s Zak Brown‘s, the American’s best chance of entering Formula 1 could come via his current team Andretti.
Michael Andretti has toyed with the idea of entering Formula 1 though he faces significant hurdles in terms of making this a possibility.
From McLaren‘s point of view, signing Herta would make commercial sense as the United States remains their biggest market.
However, the team will have to jettison one of its drivers to facilitate this move.
Ricciardo’s future still unresolved
McLaren must make a decision on the future of Daniel Ricciardo, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
With Lando Norris the future of McLaren , Herta will in all likelihood replace Ricciardo, if a move were to come to fruition.
The last American to race in Formula 1 was Alexander Rossi in 2015. Rossi has incidentally signed with McLaren‘s IndyCar team for 2023.
Herta‘s entry into F1 would end this run and would be the perfect way to capitalise on F1’s rising interest in the U.S..