Mario Andretti has bemoaned the fact that Colton Herta has not made it to Formula 1 given he was quicker than Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi on the Alfa Romeo simulator.
Herta was strongly tipped for one of the Alfa Romeo seats for the F1 2022 season as Mario’s son, Michael, neared completing a majority stake take over of Sauber, the operating company responsible for the Alfa Romeo team in Formula 1.
But, as that deal fall apart at the last minute, it has left Herta’s F1 hopes on hold for the foreseeable future – until 2024 at the very least as Michael tries to find another way through the F1 door with his own team, Andretti Global.
Michael’s father, Mario, was very disappointed not to see Herta in Formula 1 this year, even more so because he was pumping in quicker times than Alfa Romeo’s 2021 line-up in Raikkonen and Giovinazzi.
We’ll take a top 5 to start the year off!!! Great job by the team to get the ball rolling in the right direction! Long year ahead!! #Gainbridge // #PoweredByHonda // #AllAndretti pic.twitter.com/djYRQx4YJ4
— Colton Herta (@ColtonHerta) February 27, 2022
“Colton was in Europe at 15 years of age and was driving alongside established Formula 1 drivers right now like Lando Norris,” Andretti said in an interview with David Land.
“He went through the ranks and he won everything, and now he gets to the top level here in the States and wins here too.
“Not by strategy, but by pure speed and elegant, super driving.
“When we were talking about the Sauber deal, which was almost done, he spent a week in their wind tunnel and by the third day he was quicker than Giovinazzi and Raikkonen on the simulator.
“I couldn’t wait to put him in a Formula 1 car and it was always going to happen [be announced] in Abu Dhabi but the deal fell through.
“The owners wanted to stay on with 20 per cent and wanted to have full control, so there’s no way we could go with that.”
Asked what makes Herta such a special talent, Andretti added: “The best quality he has as a driver is he compensates.
“He doesn’t need to have a perfect race car to be able to perform. I have seen that over and over again and he just gets on with it.
“Of course we try to get him the best set-up and everything, but he doesn’t despair if the car isn’t perfect.
“[The challenge is] to go and find a way and that is the quality of a champion. That’s where he has been impressing me.
“In his own quiet and determined way he just goes about it and gets the job done. It’s a quality that’s rare, believe me.”
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