Herta was lined up by Red Bull for a seat at the AlphaTauri for 2023, with the team open to an offer from Alpine to take over currently contracted Pierre Gasly.
However, the energy drink giant’s plans were based on giving Herta the mandatory Formula 1 supremacy he needed to compete in the Grand Prix races.
F1 regulations require him to have 40 points of advantage from the other classes, and at the end of the 2022 campaign, he only had 32 under his belt.
But thanks to his race-winning performance in IndyCar, and success in another series that included a second-place finish in the Indy Lights title chase in 2019, Red Bull felt they had the skills and experience needed to race in F1.
One of the arguments that he deserved the exemption was that his final season in the Indy Lights would have given him the points necessary to excel if the tournament had had more entry – something that was beyond Hertha’s control.
However, amid some concern from F1 teams about the impact of Herta’s exemption on other junior classes, it has become highly political.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was candid at the Italian Grand Prix when he said: “I think force majeure cannot be used with Hertha. That would be a completely wrong approach. The regulations were put in place in order to protect our sport and make sure we make the right process and choices for our sport itself.”
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda
Photo by: Jake Galstad/Sports Images
These comments prompted a response from the FIA not to succumb to outside pressure for any decision it might take.
“The FIA will not be pressured by any team to make decisions on matters such as points of advantage. The FIA President has implemented strong governance, and we will stick to that.
However, amid increasing indications that the FIA will turn down the request, Red Bull has elected itself to drop the Hertha pursuit for the time being.
Instead, Herta will spend the final year of his Andretti contract at IndyCar in 2023 before considering his next steps.
While Hertha was aware that his dream in Formula One was over for the time being, the FIA officially announced that his supremacy exemption request had been denied.
An FIA spokesperson said: “The FIA confirms that an investigation was carried out through the appropriate channels which led to the FIA confirming that driver Colton Herta did not have the required number of points to give him an FIA advantage.
“The FIA is constantly reviewing its regulations and procedures, including with regard to eligibility to excel, taking into account the key factors in relation to this topic of safety, experience and performance in the course of the track.”