With FIA expected to decline Super License exemption, Bryan Herta mulls son’s next move

Colton Herta winter series
Greg Doherty/Getty Images

MONTEREY, California – Bryan Herta said there are no plans to move his son, Colton, to an international “winter series” to accumulate the eight points needed to acquire an FIA Super License.

The FIA indicated Saturday that it likely wouldn’t allow Herta a special waiver to join F1 and that he must accumulate the necessary amount of Super License points based on its convoluted system that heavily favors European feeder series over the NTT IndyCar Series.

“The FIA will not be pressured by any teams into decisions on matters such as super license points,” an FIA spokesperson told Autosport. “The FIA President has implemented robust governance, and we will abide by that.”

Herta has 32 points, and there would be a few options to race in series over the winter that would allow him to amass the 40 points necessary for a Super License required to race in Formula One.

AlphaTauri and Alpine both have expressed interest in the 22-year-old NTT IndyCar Series driver from Santa Clarita, California.

With seven victories in the NTT IndyCar Series, it would seem that Herta has more than proven himself worthy of an FIA Super License. But consider that Linus Lundquist earned enough points for a Super License by clinching the Indy Lights championship Saturday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“I don’t really know what the options would be,” Herta’s father and agent, Bryan, told a small group of reporters including NBC Sports Saturday. “I don’t know with his license if he can race in F3 or F4. It’s really not up to him or up to us, it would be up to people over there to decide what to do.

“Let me say this, I understand both sides of the argument. I have an emotional side to one side of the argument, but I also have an intellectual understanding of both sides of the argument.

“It was clear before the season started what the requirements were, and it hasn’t changed. It’s up to them.”

Bryan Herta told NBC Sports in a Friday interview that he didn’t a special exemption or treatment from the FIA for Colton.

IndyCar officials are not involved in the number of points the FIA awards for Super License points because frankly, it’s a situation that doesn’t impact the series.

“I don’t see why IndyCar would want to do that,” Bryan Herta said. “Why would they want to make it easier for their drivers to leave here?

“I don’t think it’s in their best interest to do that. People here that race in the sport and understand the sport recognize IndyCar’s value. I don’t think anything will change that.”

Bryan Herta is the strategist for his son on the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda and said it’s “business as usual” this weekend at Laguna Seca. Colton is trying to win Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey for the third consecutive time.

“We weren’t happy with the car in practice, and we have to make it better for qualifying,” Bryan said. “That’s all we are thinking about.

“This doesn’t really change anything for me.”

Serving as Colton’s manager has been an “interesting” situation for the former IndyCar driver who is a two-time winner at Laguna Seca.

“You have to feel fortunate to see Colton in that position where teams are expressing interest publicly and that is amazing and clearly genuine,” Bryan said. “Everybody is clear what they are hoping for and want to get out of this, but that is not in anybody’s hands there.

“Colton has to accept whatever decision happens.”

Andretti Autosport would need to know soon if they have to fill the No. 26 seat in IndyCar.

“Having a resolution is better for everybody,” Bryan said. “It’s uncomfortable with people, team owners, other drivers over there making it specific to Colton.

“He wants to take a chance at Formula One. I believe he is good enough to take that chance, but you don’t want to go over there with an asterisk walking in.

“I’m a little surprised how contentious and how public the whole thing has been. I would rather it be settled quietly, and that’s it.”

Both Hertas expressed they were surprised how much excitement and interest Formula One teams have shown — particularly since a July test with McLaren Racing (which signed Colton to a testing contract this season).

But it has also put a target on Colton’s back.

“There is no question Zak Brown and McLaren gave Colton an opportunity to drive a Formula One car, and that went well,” Bryan said. “There is no doubt that had a positive impact on his perception from other people in that paddock after that.”

As his manager, Colton has an agent that has experienced all facets of racing, from driving IndyCars to owning Indy 500 winner cars and a successful IMSA Sports Car program.

“This has nothing to do with me, I’m just here to help him navigate and accomplish his goals,” Bryan said. “I think he is in a tremendous position here with Andretti in the IndyCar Series. He is not unhappy.

“But an F1 opportunity is exciting too.

“If those are your two possible outcomes, I don’t think there is a bad outcome for him in any of that. We just have to wait and see that happens.”

The Herta Way, though, is to make this decision the right way, without demeaning one series over the other or getting special dispensation to make the move.

“What Colton wants to do is protect IndyCar and not create an impression he is dying to get away from,” Bryan said. “It’s not something to run away from or feel lesser about.

“But Formula One is Formula One. On a global scale, it’s the biggest form of motorsport, undisputed. Any driver worth their salt would like to try it.”

As a son, Colton has a father that raised him well and has prepared him for life.

“He is a good kid,” Bryan said. “I think my pride level and his mom’s pride level is based around who he is, his value system and how good he is.

“Our pride in him has less to do with how fast he can drive a race car.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Chase Sexton wins Triple Crown Anaheim 2 Supercross: Levi Kitchen unseats Jett Lawrence in 250s

Supercross Anaheim 2
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Chase Sexton won two of the three races in the Monster Energy Supercross Anaheim 2 Triple Crown, which was enough to overcome a fifth-place finish in Race 2 and give him the overall victory. It was the second Supercross win of his career.

“Super big night for me,” Sexton told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “After last weekend with that being a struggle, I just need to come out here and stop the bleeding a little bit and I did that tonight.”

Sexton suffered a crash on Lap 1 of his heat, sending him into Last Chance Qualifier. The bad gate pick put him in a difficult position to start the race and he was able to climb to only fifth at the checkers.

At Anaheim 2, three riders entered the final race of the Triple Crown in a winner-take-all scenario. Sexton, Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac each had a shot at victory. It raised the intensity level for all riders in an evening that featured a lot of comers and goers.

Jason Anderson took the early lead in Race 3, which set him up for the overall victory. Sexton stalked and passed him midway through the race and then a minor mistake late allowed Webb to slip around as well. Anderson’s 5-1-3 gave him second overall.

“I had a tough couple of rounds, getting off that Anaheim 1 crash and then last week weekend I fumbled a little bit, but I’m excited to get back on the box and start moving forward,” Anderson told Jason Thomas.

Anderson finished seventh in the first two rounds of 2023.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Ken Roczen was the model of consistency in the opening rounds and at Anaheim 2. In three races so far this year, he’s gotten progressively better each time with a fifth in A1, a fourth last week in San Deigo and a third this week.

With results of 2-3-4, he earned his first podium of the season, which lands him fourth in the standings.

“This was hard earned,” Roczen said after the race. “I completely botched the start and then to have to work my way up. I only happen on the very last lap to step up here on the podium.”

Webb’s solid second-place finish in the third race allowed him to leapfrog several riders and finish fourth overall, but a seventh in Race 1 kept him off the podium. He improved in each race in Anaheim, however, with a 7-4-2.

With a 4-6-5, Dylan Ferrandis rounded out the top five.

The intensity of the race was a little too much for Tomac.

While battling side-by-side with Webb in Race 3 at the one-third mark, Tomac jumped wide and crashed hard. He fell to 14th, doing some damage to his bike in the process. He advanced only one position in that race to 13th. His first two races, a third and second, were strong enough to give him sixth overall. He retains the points lead, but it has shrunk to a gap of only four over Sexton and Webb.

Malcolm Stewart injured late in the week and was not able to mount.

Levi Kitchen became the first rider to unseat Jett Lawrence in the Triple Crown format at Anaheim 2 and won the overall with consistency. In his three races, Kitchen finished 4-2-2 to narrowly edge the winner of the first two races.

“This whole day; this is unbelievable. I took a few good slams in practice and I was down on myself,” Kitchen told NBC Sports Jason Thomas afterward. “The first moto I got a good start and got shuffled back, then I knew I just needed to be consistent.”

Jett Lawrence saved his best for last – which wasn’t hard given the struggles he experienced in the first two races.

Despite those problems, he entered Race 3 of the Triple Crown three points behind Kitchen after suffering a pair of disappointing races by his personal measuring stick. In the first and second 250 races of the night, Lawrence hit the ground. He dropped to the final rider in the running order in Race 2 with a Lap 1 fall. But in both races, he was able to overcome his mistake and close the gap so that he had a chance to take his first Triple Crown win of his career.

Click here for full 250 West Main Results

Lawrence rode to third in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2. In the final race of the night, Lawrence did all he could. He earned the holeshot, but when Kitchen fell in behind him, Lawrence’s fate was sealed. His 3-6-1 tied him in points with Stilez Robertson, but the tiebreaker goes to the final round and his win secured second-place.

“I can definitely say Triple Crowns are not my thing,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Will Christien. “We have one more to try and fix this, so hopefully we can get that done.”

Lawrence will move into the 450 class for the Lucas Oil Motocross outdoor season and his 250 record book will be closed.

The best news for Lawrence is the other riders who entered this round in the top three had a worse night, so Lawrence leaves Anaheim with a 16-point gap on Cameron McAdoo and 17 over RJ Hampshire.

Roberston finished 6-1-3 to take the final step of the podium.

“Getting that win in the second Main meant a lot,” Roberston told Thomas. “I wish I could have done a little better in the third one, but we’re still up here on the box.”

Mitchell Oldenburg used consistency to earn fourth in the overall. He finished 5-4-6.

After missing the Main last week in San Diego, Max Vohland finished 7-8-4 to round out the top five.

RJ Hampshire set himself up as the early favorite with his Race 1 win. In Race 2, it all fell apart. He fell in the sand section and damaged his bike, finishing last in that race. The final event of the night for the 250s provided only a 13th-place finish, leaving Hampshire deep in the points.

Cameron McAdoo hard crash in qualification, which was scary news for a team that has seen three of their riders sidelined with injury. McAdoo was never quite able to get his rhythm with an 8-7-5.

2023 Race Recaps

San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Anaheim 2 coverage

Power Rankings Week 2
SuperMotocross tightens playoff schedule
Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence go two-for-two in San Diego
Results and points after San Diego
Seth Hammaker to miss 250 E season opener with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner with injury
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX