If Andretti’s plan had worked, Herta would have moved on to F1 once she was granted an FIA super license, replaced in Andretti Autosport’s IndyCar team by her Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood. Instead, Herta stayed in the No. 26 car he drove to three wins last season, and Kirkwood will spend his rookie season at AJ Foyt Racing.
Asked about such a decision, Herta, 21, said: “I would be lying if I said I don’t want to do Formula 1, and I want to do a lot of things in my career.
“But it takes some timing. Formula 1 is one of them. If you are 28, you are not going to Formula 1, unfortunately. This is how it works. The time has come for me if I have the chance. I would have to think about it carefully, but I most likely would because I want to race in Formula 1 at some point.”
He added: “I’m 21 and I can come back in five years and still race 15 years in IndyCar and be 40.
“Yeah, I really want to try if I have the chance. But definitely not disappointed at all in IndyCar. I like this series more than any series in the world, and I like racing there a lot. But yeah , there are also a lot of things I would like to try in my racing career outside of IndyCar.
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
Such a desire for career diversity is something Herta has already demonstrated during outings in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He was an endurance supplement for Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, winning the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on his debut, and last year he was in Turner Motorsport’s BMW M6.
This weekend he will compete in his fourth Rolex 24, but at the wheel of an LMP2 car, namely the DragonSpeed entry, sharing with Eric Lux, new Andretti Autosport teammate Devlin DeFrancesco and former teammate of Indy Lights, current IndyCar ace and potential fellow F1 contender Pato O’Ward.
As for the upcoming IndyCar season, this isn’t the first time Herta has said he’s hungry for success on the ovals, a type of track where his best result to date was fourth place at Gateway in 2020. He seemed destined for a victory at this same track in 2021, but his car failed him.
“I think Gateway last year was our race to lose,” he said. “Unfortunately with the half-shaft breaking it kind of got us out of there. Without it I thought we had really good pace. We were doing better fuel mileage than anyone else and we were pulling away. Yeah, it was our race to lose there, and unfortunately we did.
“You know, it kind of showed the confidence I’ve gained on the ovals. I think for a long time that’s kind of where Andretti struggled with the short ovals. It’s good to see that the teams also made big gains there.
He later added: “We had so much speed on different ovals at different times, but I was never able to close…Texas, I feel like I always had a bit…2019 I was fast there there, but never since then, with the aeroscreen, we just struggled there as a team. So work on that, and obviously focus on Iowa now. We have a test in the ‘Iowa later in the year, so that will be interesting.