AlphaTauri team president Franz Tost thinks it would have been thrilling to acquire American driver Colton Herta, but he is still sure that his team can have a “great” 2023 with the addition of Nyck de Vries and the continuation of Yuki Tsunoda.
Prior to the confirmation of Pierre Gasly’s move from AlphaTauri to Alpine, Red Bull had been negotiating with Herta to add the IndyCar star to their stable as a replacement for Gasly.
After being the youngest winner in IndyCar history at the age of 18, Herta has gone on to win six more races in the series, but he still lacks the 40 Super Licence points necessary to go to Formula 1.
The United States will host three Grands Prix next season, in Miami, Austin, and Las Vegas. Since Alexander Rossi was the last American driver in F1, their addition would be a sign of progress.
Tost, when asked about the current state of the driver market, replied, “Of course, there were some negotiations with Herta, but he doesn’t have a Super Licence. He was formerly a viable choice for AlphaTauri, but when the FIA said they would not grant him a Super Licence, he became untenable.
I really believe that having an American driver with such a stellar reputation would have propelled us ahead in the American market. As an official representative of the AlphaTauri brand, this would have been a great marketing opportunity for us; but, it didn’t pan out, so we searched elsewhere.
After an outstanding F1 debut at the Italian Grand Prix, when the Dutchman scored points for Williams while filling in for an ailing Alex Albon, AlphaTauri signed the former F2 champion to a contract.
Tost is confident that both De Vries (who has already had F1 practice trips with Mercedes and Aston Martin) and Tsunoda will rise up to the challenge and work well together as team mates as the team prepares to lose its most experienced driver in Gasly during the winter.
The car’s performance is also a factor in the team’s direction. Having a high-quality vehicle makes things simple for both of us. Tost said, “I believe that it will not be that simple to figure out everything if we have difficulties with the vehicle, since Nyck hasn’t so much Formula 1 experience [and] Yuki is still in the learning process.”
Next year, Yuki should be old enough to provide technical advice, in my opinion. Nonetheless, I have high hopes for Nyck because of his past success in other racing categories. Therefore, I believe that we will have a prosperous year provided the automobile is functional.
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