Herta poised for Alpine test as AlphaTauri F1 interest continues

Colton Herta is being lined up for a private test with the Alpine team amid Red Bull’s push to get him in to Formula 1, Motorsport.com has learned.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

The IndyCar frontrunner is being targeted for a race seat at AlphaTauri next season as part of a deal that would result in Pierre Gasly being released to Alpine.

His chances of making the switch to F1 are dependent on him securing a superlicence, with Red Bull having asked the FIA for a special dispensation as he currently only has 32 of the 40 points required.

Despite the lobbying from Red Bull, the indications are that the FIA will reject there being grounds to grant a superlicence to Herta amid concerns of the unintended consequences such a move could have in the future.

The biggest fear is that it could deter drivers from focusing on the FIA’s single seater ladder categories of F3 and F2 if there is a chance of getting special exemptions to earn a licence.

While the situation does not look positive for Herta, that has not stopped Red Bull continuing to push on with its preparations.

Sources have revealed that with the IndyCar season now finished, plans are being made for Herta to conduct a private test for Alpine in an old car.

This running forms part of the original driver development programme that had originally been set up for Oscar Piastri, but the Australian has now been stood down from following his decision to move to McLaren for 2023.

Piastri had been conducting mileage in an A521 from last year in his Alpine programme.

Although final plans for the test have not been set in stone, Alpine is hoping it can slot Herta in for the running that will take place at the Hungaroring before the Singapore GP.

Oscar Piastri, Alpine A521

Oscar Piastri, Alpine A521

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

There is also a chance that Nyck de Vries could join the test too as an evaluation for a 2023 race seat.

It is understood, however, that despite Alpine running Herta he is not on its shortlist to become Fernando Alonso’s replacement for next year.

Instead, the running forms more part of an evaluation process that Alpine has offered to do for AlphaTauri to better gauge the American’s speed and technical feedback.

While it may seem quite strange for F1 teams to help each other in such a manner, Alpine’s interest in Herta’s future is clear with it hoping to get hold of Gasly.

Alpine has declined to confirm who will be taking part in the Hungaroring test. A spokesman said: “We do not comment on private tests.”

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As well as the Alpine test, Herta remains in contention for a McLaren FP1 session this year, but this has not been confirmed.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said about the possibility: “I would not rule Colton out, but anything we do is going to be in the best interest of McLaren as opposed to helping out AlphaTauri.”

There is also a chance that McLaren could elect to give Piastri an early run in an FP1, if the youngster is released from his Alpine contract.

Brown added: “We don’t have total clarity yet because Oscar’s still under contract for ’22.

“We’re still developing the car so we’re unlikely to want to put a rookie in when we’re still throwing bits on the car.

“Being the later half of the year, there’s only six races left. But undecided whether it’s one driver, two drivers. I think we’ll know that in a couple of weeks.”

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