F1 rules break for Herta would ‘kill’ junior ladder

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Formula 1 has built a “nice” ladder for young talent which it must not ruin by giving a dispensation for an IndyCar driver to enter, says Formula E champion Nyck de Vries.Red Bull wants to place IndyCar race-winner Colton Herta at its junior team AlphaTauri next year. However Herta does not currently have sufficient superlicence points to race in F1. The FIA is thought to be unwilling to grant him a dispensation to race in the series.

De Vries, who won the Formula 2 championship in 2019 and added the FE title two years later, is vying for a place on the F1 grid next year. He took part in his third F1 practice session of the season today, and afterwards said deviating from the rules to let Herta in would establish a damaging precedent for young drivers.

“I trust in the governing body,” Herta told media including RaceFans. “I think rules are there to be respected.

“There are plenty of other drivers in the market that have superlicence points. The necessity is not necessarily that high to go and give someone dispensation to get a superlicence.

“Plus, in my own opinion, it would give an incorrect precedent and example to the Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships.”

In recent years the former GP2 and GP3 series have been rebranded as F2 and F3 respectively. Each awards more superlicence points for aspiring F1 drivers. De Vries said allowing Herta in would lead to more young drivers entering American junior championships.

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“The knock-[on] effect would be much greater than just giving dispensation,” he said. “First because there would be many more knocking on the door for a certain request.

Nyck de Vries, Aston Martin, Monza, 2022
F1 has a “nice” junior series ladder, says De Vries

“Secondly, you could argue that people going from Formula Four to Formula Three could decide to escape to the US because in Indy Lights you only have 12 cars on the grid, and it’s much easier to score points, and then you could come back. Then you almost kill and jeopardise the ladder we have been building over the years which now is so nice.

“I compare our platform to what we see in [Moto GP with] Moto 3 and Moto 2. There is a clear ladder, a clear path to Formula 1, so it would be a shame if we jeopardise our system and I also think it’s unnecessary.”

De Vries is hopeful an opportunity will open up for him to enter F1 next year. His strongest chance appears to be Williams, where Nicholas Latifi’s future is in doubt.

However he said he isn’t getting his hopes up at this early stage that he’ll be on the F1 grid next year. “I wouldn’t build my future on solely hope and on the volatility of this paddock,” he said. “But at the same time it is a dream I’d like to fulfil and I also think I deserve an opportunity.

“So I will be judging the opportunities carefully in the upcoming time and then yeah, decide what is ultimately best for my career.”

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