A month ago, Colton Herta was flirting with Formula 1. Today, he's mapping out the next phase of his NTT IndyCar Series career after agreeing to a long-term contract extension with Andretti Autosport through the 2027 season.
Andretti Autosport announced the deal today that Herta will remain in the No. 26 Honda for the Andretti IndyCar team for at least the next five seasons with continued sponsorship from financial services company Gainbridge.
“We’re really pleased to confirm that Colton and Gainbridge will remain with Andretti Autosport for years to come,” said the team’s chairman and CEO Michael Andretti. “Colton is a true talent in a race car and has natural determination that makes him want to win. He’s a strong competitor and a good teammate. I’m looking forward to seeing what Colton and Andretti can continue to achieve together.”
“We’ve been really proud to represent Gainbridge, and to have given them their first racing victory with Colton in 2020—and four more since,” added Andretti. “On and off the track we share a commitment to compete at the top level and look forward to seeing Colton return to victory lane in the yellow and black Gainbridge colors.”
Herta, 22, already has four years of full-time experience in IndyCar. He has seven wins, 11 podiums in 65 career starts. He joined Andretti Autosport in 2020. Five of his wins have come with Andretti. Previously, Herta made 65 starts in the Indy Lights series with Andretti.
Herta was courted for a ride in Formula 1 earlier this summer—likely with Alpine—but he was unable to secure enough Super License points or any type of waiver to become eligible in the series. He tested a F1 car with McLaren at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portgugal across two days in July.
Today's announcement would appear to take F1 off the table for Herta, at least for now. He has a contract with the McLaren F1 team that allows for some testing through 2024. For Herta to even be eligible for a move to F1 in 2024, he would need to finish at least third in the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series championship to give him enough Super License points. Those point are based on a driver's best three season finishes during the past four season.
“I’m super happy and grateful for everything the entire Andretti and Gainbridge teams have done for me,” said Herta. “This is a huge step for me professionally and I’m so glad it can be with a top team like Andretti Autosport. We have big goals and a lot of work ahead of us, but I can’t be happier to do it with this team and represent Gainbridge.”
Herta will join teammates Romain Grosjean (No. 28 DHL Honda), Kyle Kirkwood (No. 27 AutoNation Honda) and Devlin DeFrancesco (No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Honda) as the 2023 IndyCar campaign kicks off March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.