American driver Colton Herta will drive a McLaren Formula One car for two days this week as part of his testing program with the team.
22-year-old IndyCar racer Herta, who is believed to be the American with the best chance of entering Formula 1 in the near future, will drive the team’s 2021 F1 car at Portugal’s Portimao circuit on Monday and Tuesday.
Herta’s test is to prepare him for free practice at a Grand Prix later this year, with the US Grand Prix in October being the most obvious choice.
The Californian has won seven IndyCar races since his debut in 2018.
Formula 1 is currently experiencing an unprecedented boom in the US, but has not had an American driver on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015.
Herta’s opportunities to get online at any time soon seem limited. Michael Andretti wanted Herta to lead his proposed F1 team, but takeover talks with Alfa Romeo owner Sauber fell through last year.
Herta will likely have to wait until 2024 at the earliest if he wants a chance at McLaren given Daniel Ricciardo has a contract until the end of next year and Lando Norris is tied until 2025.
Ricciardo’s disappointing run of form this year has sparked speculation that McLaren could leave the Australian driver later this year, with Zak Brown suggesting ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix that the team have “mechanisms” to end the contract early if they wanted to . However, sources close to Ricciardo have downplayed the likelihood of that scenario to ESPN, saying the Australian firmly intends and expects to see his existing deal with the team.
America’s hopes for an F1 driver aren’t limited to Herta. Floridian Logan Sargeant, 21, recently became the first American driver to win a race in the Formula 2 F1 feeder series. Sargeant is part of Williams’ driver program.
Next year, three races will be held in the United States, with one race taking place on Las Vegas’ legendary Strip alongside the new Miami Grand Prix and the popular Austin US Grand Prix.
https://www.espn.com/f1/story/_/id/34225574/american-driver-colton-herta-gets-two-day-mclaren-test American driver Colton Herta gets two-day McLaren test