Mario Andretti: America would "go crazy" over Herta in F1

Racing icon Mario Andretti believes IndyCar star Colton Herta is “Formula 1 quality” and he’s “pushing like hell” to find an opportunity for the 21-year-old with a top F1 team.

Mario Andretti: America would "go crazy" over Herta in F1

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, 1978 F1 World Champion Andretti – whose family team ran Californian Herta to his fourth career IndyCar Series victory at St Petersburg on Sunday – says the news that a second grand prix in Miami will join Austin's United States GP on the 2022 F1 schedule is the perfect time for Herta to make the switch.

Read Also:

“I think America is probably the only country on the planet that can really properly host two Formula 1 races,” Andretti told Motorsport.com. “Quite honestly, I think F1’s fanbase in America is somewhat understated, but it needs to be perked up – and the only thing it’s really missing is an American driver.

“I’m pushing like hell for Colton. You’ve got to remember, Colton went to race in England when he was 15 years old, all by himself. That’s always been his objective [to get to F1] but he’s very quiet and unassuming, he’s not pushy, but I see a quality there – a Formula 1 quality.

“That’s from the word go – he’s a great qualifier, and that’s really important, from what I’ve seen the races he won at COTA and Laguna Seca, both races were won by raw speed. Not strategy, not fuel mileage, and he’s winning against the best IndyCar has to offer – Scott Dixon and Will Power – they were on him from the start, and he didn’t put a wheel wrong, all the pitstops were perfect.

“I’m really a fan of Colton, I’m in his pit during the races, and he’s just very calm and collected. I love that. He adapts to everything, that’s a big key to everything. You hear people complaining – ‘it’s too slippery, it’s too windy’ – he just gets on with it, it’s the same for everybody, just find a freakin’ way to do it!

“And that’s what he does every time. I like that.”

Read Also:

Andretti thinks that placing America’s most exciting young open-wheel talent with a frontrunning team would mean the U.S. would “go crazy for F1” – but questioned the current criteria for superlicence points system.

He also believes that Herta, who became the youngest-ever winner of an IndyCar race in 2019 at the age of 18, needs to make the move sooner rather than later.

“We’d need the American driver with a top team, not in the back with no chance,” Andretti added. “If you could get an American driver in F1, producing results, you’d have America going crazy for F1.

“Mercedes sells a lot of cars here, it’s a huge market, imagine what they could do with him? It would juice up the TV ratings too. But it has to happen within a year or so, or they’ll consider him to be too old.

“He’s 21, so it’s a great time, and I realise the lack of testing and licence restrictions. But, I mean, that Russian kid [Nikita Mazepin] gets a superlicence, and the guy who’s at the very top level over here can’t get one? There’s something wrong there!”

shares
comments

Related video

Formula 1's sprint qualifying trials plan approved
Previous article

Formula 1's sprint qualifying trials plan approved

Next article

Steiner finds it "difficult" to say right things to Haas F1 duo

Steiner finds it "difficult" to say right things to Haas F1 duo
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Prime

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue.

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Prime

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger .

Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory Prime

Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s Oleg Karpov on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow.

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc Prime

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career.

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Prime

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Max Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Prime

Does Max Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Prime

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz's best weekend of F1 2022 so far Prime

The breakthrough behind Sainz's best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022