Current IndyCar star Colton Herta spent two days testing McLaren’s MCL35M. The American is being prepped to make his official Free Practice debut at some point this year and he believes he has the pace to succeed in Formula 1.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown has always preferred to give youth a chance. The American gave Lando Norris his F1 debut in 2019 and has always allowed IndyCar driver Patricio O’Ward to get behind the wheel of the MCL35M during last year’s post-season test.
The team’s latest efforts saw Herta get behind the wheel of the same car during a two-day test session at the Portimao race circuit in Portugal, with Herta himself stating that he felt ready if he were to be given an F1 opportunity.
“Yes. You can’t say no to a question like that, otherwise, you wouldn’t be a professional driver, Herta said when asked if he was ready to compete in Formula 1.
“Whether people agree or not, only time will tell. Hopefully then I can prove [that I’m fast enough].
“I felt comfortable, I could feel the limit. Perhaps there was still a lack of consistency, that will come with more days, but I had the feeling that I was close to the limit.”
Herta ecstatic to have been able to drive a race winner
With Daniel Ricciardo winning the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, the MCL35M was one of four cars on the grid to have won a race last year. A fact Herta was quick to highlight.
“It is really special not only to have a first test in a Formula 1 car, but also in a race-winning Formula 1 car,” Herta exclaimed.
“It was a lot of fun. Two great days to get used to the car. It’s of course a bit different from what I’m used to, a bit of a different driving style. The engineers were very helpful in getting me up to speed. What a car!
“It was a great opportunity for me.”