Colton Herta has recommitted his future to Andretti Autosport with a new multi-year extension. The Californian, whose name has been part of constant speculation regarding a move to Formula 1 since 2021, will remain in NTT IndyCar Series for the foreseeable future in the No. 26 Honda.
RACER understands Herta’s extension, which adds to his current contract that runs through 2023, will keep the seven-time IndyCar race winner within Andretti’s IndyCar family while also giving his team owner a lead driver to take to Formula 1 if and when Andretti Global is granted an entry, and provided the 22-year-old earns enough points to be eligible for a Super License. It’s believed Herta’s F1 testing contract with McLaren Racing, where he shares a program driving a 2021 car along with Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward, will also continue without interruption.
With the new contract in place, Herta will continue to lead Andretti’s IndyCar program along with Romain Grosjean and Devlin DeFrancesco. Andretti also welcomes 2021 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood — who won that title while driving for Andretti — back to the fold in the No. 27 Honda vacated by Arrow McLaren SP’s new arrival Alexander Rossi.
Herta’s IndyCar career began in 2018 with the former Harding Racing team at the season finale in Sonoma, and in his third start, he became IndyCar’s youngest winner at the age of 18 years, 11 months, and 25 days at Circuit of The Americas in 2019.
He added a second win to close his rookie season with the renamed Harding Steinbrenner Racing team and joined the Andretti squad in 2020, where Herta scored his third win and placed a career-best third in the Drivers’ championship.
Shifting to the No. 26 Honda in 2021, Herta captured three more wins on the way to fifth in the standings, and as the Andretti team took a step backwards last season, he produced his seventh IndyCar win but fell to 10th in the championship, tied on points with Rossi.
Herta conducted his first F1 test in July with McLaren where he impressed CEO Zak Brown and the organization with his pace and feedback. Herta also drew interest from Red Bull as a solution for its AlphaTauri junior team where, with a Super License in hand, he could have replaced Pierre Gasly, who is tipped to join Alpine.