McLaren Racing have confirmed the addition of Colton Herta for part of a testing program for its Formula 1 team.
Herta, who currently pilots the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda in the NTT IndyCar Series, will receive the opportunity to pound laps in McLaren’s 2021 MCL35M, which happens under F1’s new sporting regulations that enables teams to now test one-year-old cars under the Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) provision.
The California native became the youngest driver to win in the NTT IndyCar Series when he claimed victory at Circuit of The Americas in 2019 at 18 years, 359 days old.
Now 21, Herta’s IndyCar career features six wins, nine podiums and seven poles in 49 starts.
“I want to thank McLaren for the opportunity to get my first laps in a Formula 1 car, which has always been on my racing bucket list,” Herta said. “This will be a great opportunity for me to gain some valuable experience in a new form of motorsport and learn from such an established team like McLaren F1.”
McLaren F1 team principal Andreas Seidl shared his thoughts on the addition of the second-generation talent.
“Colton is a proven talent in IndyCar and we will be interested to see how he adapts to a Formula 1 car,” Seidl said. “We believe this testing program will provide him with valuable experience while demonstrating the benefit of expanding previous car testing to showcase promising drivers for the future.”
In the press release, McLaren Racing said it will “confirm further details of its TPC program in due course.”
Pato O’Ward, who currently drives for Arrow McLaren SP in IndyCar, took part F1’s Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi last season with McLaren. He is still believed to be in the fold for F1 testing opportunities with the team this year.
No driver from the United States has competed in F1 since Alexander Rossi at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2015.