Herta looks unlikely to be granted a superlicence exemption that would allow him to make his debut in the F1 2023 season – he was in talks to fill a spot in the F1 2023 driver line-up with Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri.
The 22-year-old American only has 32 of the required 40 points he needs to be granted a superlicence, despite winning seven IndyCar races and finishing third and fifth in the championship in 2020 and 2021.
His Andretti Autosport teammate, Rossi, who contested five F1 grand prix with Marussia in 2015, leapt to Herta’s defence.
“I’ve kept my mouth shut long enough, so here goes,” Rossi posted on social media. “I’m so sick and tired of this back and forth regarding superlicence points.
“The whole premise of it was to stop people from buying their way into F1 and allowing talent to be the motivating factor.
“That’s great. We all agree Colton has the talent and capability to be in F1. That’s also great and he should get that opportunity if it’s offered to him. Period.
“Motorsport still remains as the most high profile sport in the world where money can outweigh talent. What is disappointing and in my opinion, the fundamental problem, is that the sporting element so often took a backseat to the business side that there had to be a method put in place in order for certain teams to stop taking drivers solely based on their financial backing.
“Ultimately these past decisions, whether out of greed or necessity, is what cost Colton the opportunity to make the decision for himself as to if he wanted to alter career paths and race in F1. Not points on a license.”
Rossi’s comments followed similar criticism from IndyCar veteran Rahal, who hit out at F1 for being an “elitist” sport.
“F1 is an elitist sport,” he wrote on Twitter. “They don’t want us. Remember that.
“They want US companies’ money, they want wealthy US individuals’ money. But they don’t care about the rest. Always has been that way, always will be.”
Rahal continued: “For those who want to say that Colton Herta didn’t ‘earn’ the right. You’re off base.
“He’s as talented, if not more, than the rest. He’s a proven winner. He came to the top and has done exceptionally well.
“F1 has had ride buyers for years who don’t hold a candle to CH. FACTS!”