IndyCar star Colton Herta set for two-day McLaren test in Portimao
Colton Herta is set to take part in McLaren’s Testing of Previous Cars programme across the next few days, as the American finally gets an opportunity to drive Formula 1 machinery. He will be behind the wheel of a 2021-spec McLaren MCL35M at Portugal's Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, which has played host to two F1 races in the past two seasons.
Twenty-two year old Herta has a stellar record in IndyCar, and has long been touted as one of the leading American contenders to make the jump across into Formula 1. Having won at the Circuit of The Americas at the age of just 18 – making him the IndyCar series’ youngest ever winner – McLaren have decided to give him the opportunity to drive one of their cars, with Herta set to share testing duties with former Caterham and Marussia driver Will Stevens (now McLaren’s F1 test and development driver) across the next three days.
“Colton is a proven talent in IndyCar and we will be interested to see how he adapts to a Formula 1 car,” said McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl. “We believe this testing programme will provide him with valuable experience while demonstrating the benefit of expanding previous car testing to showcase promising drivers for the future.”
Herta isn’t the only driver to take advantage of the Testing of Previous Cars regulations, with Jehan Daruvala also getting an opportunity to drive the MCL35M at Silverstone a few weeks ago. The Indian Formula 2 driver managed over 130 laps across two days during his test.
McLaren have also previously given IndyCar's Mexican driver Pato O’Ward an opportunity to drive F1 machinery, back in last year’s Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test – while the team are yet to announce who they plan to run in their mandatory pair of rookie FP1 outings this year.