IndyCar’s Colton Herta will run special ‘Yankee Pinstripes’ paint scheme to honor Hank Steinbrenner

Andretti Autosport Photo
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The late Hank Steinbrenner will be remembered by Andretti Autosport in Saturday’s Firestone 175 virtual race at Twin Ring Motegi. The 63-year-old Steinbrenner passed away Tuesday after a lengthy illness in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

He was co-owner and co-chairman of the famed New York Yankees of Major League Baseball.

His son, George Michael Steinbrenner, IV is one of the team principals at Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport. Colton Herta’s No. 88 Capstone Turbine car will run a special New York Yankees “Pinstripe” paint scheme in honor of honor of the late Hank Steinbrenner.

“My dad was a massive racing fan and was Steinbrenner Racing’s biggest fan,” said George Steinbrenner IV. “He was so supportive of me and the team, so it’s special to be able to honor him with a livery — even in the virtual world. A massive thanks to Capstone as well for the collaboration in honoring his memory.”

The livery, developed with Capstone Turbine and the Steinbrenner family, features the iconic blue and white pinstripes of the New York Yankees and carries a special “HS” decal in two locations.

“Obviously it’s been a tough week for the whole Andretti Harding Steinbrenner team with the passing of Hank Steinbrenner,” said Herta. “Hank wanted to carry the Yankee tradition of winning into racing. I’m really proud to be able to help honor him this weekend with our pin-striped Capstone livery as a tribute. We’ll be racing with heavy hearts and hoping for a great result to honor his name.”

In addition to Herta’s tribute livery, all six Andretti Autosport entries will carry a decal in honor of Hank for this weekend’s INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.

“Capstone is honored for the opportunity to pay tribute to Hank Steinbrenner’s legacy in the Firestone 175 INDYCAR iRacing Challenge by collaborating with Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport on the No. 88 Tribute Livery,” said Darren Jamison, President and CEO of Capstone Turbine. “Hank’s passing is a tremendous loss to the sports community. On behalf of the entire Capstone organization, we extend our deepest condolences to George and the entire Steinbrenner family.”

Hank (left), George (right) — Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Steinbrenner’s father was the legendary owner of the team from 1973 until his death in 2010.

Steinbrenner and his younger brother, Hal, co-owned the Yankees until his death.

Hank Steinbrenner was an avid race fan and once co-owned Darrell Gwynn’s NHRA Drag Racing Team.

 

Famed New York Yankees star and Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson told the New York Post that he enjoyed his time with the colorful Hank Steinbrenner.

“Very generous, thoughtful and respectful. He was a helluva guy, a lot of personality. He would tell you jokes. Loved to talk about the game. Loved the job that Hal [Steinbrenner] was doing and the organization, what they were doing, the steps they were doing,” Jackson told The Post on Wednesday. “He was gracious and kind and a big tipper. Thoughtful of people. He was a helluva guy to be around. A good guy to be around.

“Hank will be missed. The shame of it all is that his brother [Hal] really worked at trying to get [Hank] involved. Nothing would have made Hal happier than to have his brother involved. [Hal] would always say to me, ‘Reggie, I have to call my brother on these decisions, help me get him up here.’”

Hank Steinbrenner often attended NTT IndyCar Series races to watch his son’s effort with Herta. Steinbrenner, however,  parked his motorhome in very inconspicuous locations. Those included outside of Turn 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Turn 12 at Road America.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

 

As expected, FIA denies granting Colton Herta a Super License to race in F1

Colton Herta Super License
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The governing body for Formula One on Friday said IndyCar star Colton Herta will not be granted the Super License that the American needs to join the F1 grid next season.

“The FIA confirms 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 said in a statement.

The FIA decision was not a surprise.

Red Bull was interested in the 22-year-old Californian and considering giving Herta a seat at AlphaTauri, its junior team. AlphaTauri has already said that Pierre Gasly will return next season and Yuki Tsunoda received a contract extension earlier this week.

However, AlphaTauri has acknowledged it would release Gasly, who is apparently wanted at Alpine, but only if it had a compelling driver such as Herta to put in the car. F1 has not had an American on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015, but Herta did not particularly want the FIA to make an exception to the licensing system to get him a seat.

At issue is how the FIA rates IndyCar, a series it does not govern. The points it awards to IndyCar drivers rank somewhere between F2 and F3, the two junior feeder series into F1.

IndyCar drivers have criticized the system in defense of Herta and the intense, close racing of their own highly competitive series. Herta has won seven IndyCar races, is the youngest winner in series history and has four starts 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 last four seasons as Herta’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, lashed out this week because “I’m so sick and tired of this back and forth” regarding the licensing.

“The whole premise of it was to keep people from buying their way into F1 and allowing talent to be the motivating factor,” Rossi wrote on social media. “That’s great. We all agree Colton has the talent and capability to be in F1. That’s also great and he should get that opportunity if it’s offered to him. Period.

“Motorsport still remains as the most high profile sport in the world where money can outweigh talent. What is disappointing and in my opinion, the fundamental problem, is that the sporting element so often took a backseat to the business side that here had to be a method put in place in order for certain teams to stop taking drivers solely based on their financial backing.”

Rossi added those decisions “whether out of greed or necessity, is what cost Colton the opportunity to make the decision for himself as to if he wanted to alter career paths and race in F1. Not points on a license.”

The system favors drivers 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 via the 15 he earned for the Lights title, 10 points for finishing third in Lights last year and his 2020 victory in the FIA-governed Formula Regional Americas Championship, which earned him 18 points.

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

Herta, meanwhile, ended the IndyCar season with 32 points. He can still earn a Super License by picking up one point for any free practice sessions he runs this year; McLaren holds his F1 rights and could put him in a car. Herta could also potentially run in an FIA-sanctioned winter series to pick up some points.

Michael Andretti, who has petitioned the FIA to expand its grid to add two cars for him to launch a team, said he never bothered to explore potential replacements for Herta on the IndyCar team because he was confident the Super License request would be rejected.

Andretti has been met by severe resistance from existing F1 teams and even F1 itself in his hope to add an 11th team. Andretti could still get on the grid by purchasing an existing team and he’d like to build his program around Herta, who is under contract in IndyCar to Andretti through 2023.