In 2018 we heard reports of Colton Herta being the most dangerous rookie the series had seen since Alexander Rossi. This is weird becuase Rossi had just joined Indycar 2 years prior to the Herta debut. Yes, Rossi is an Indy 500 winner, however, he still doesn't have that ever elusive championship. After being labeled the golden child, Rossi fell on hard times and has not evolved into a driver quick to win a championship. Now a new young gun with the same team is starting to show the same slide.
I am not saying Colton Herta is not an amazing talent. Let's not get crazy here. He does have the talent to win a championship and I would assume it is going to come eventually. The question is when. Old man Herta has coached and created a monster, but in 2021 Colton took a small step back from the year before. Now you see 3rd to 5th as a small fall, but is this a red flag of something worse?
2021 saw Herta split time in teams. I guess you can say this may have caused a bit of confusion and chaos in a normal routine, but for the majority of the races he was settled with one program. This year he will be the marque driver for the Andretti Autosports team. The heat is on and Herta must feel it. After all of the Formula 1 talks, which did nothing but add more pressure, the Pheonix joined the team.
Romain Grosjean, a seasoned driver who has made the move to Indycar, has shown what he is capable of during his time at Dale Coyne Racing. Grosjean showed well enough to secure a seat within the Andretti team. Now Colton must battle his own demons along with keeping Alexander Rossi, and the old second year Indy man behind him. Oh, by the way, our 2021 champion spent his championship winning year with Chip Ganasse racing, but do you know where he was before that? Yup, Dale Coyne Racing is where he spent his rookie year. Grosjean is coming! The pressure hasn't subsidded at all.
I would say that a championship was expected a lot sooner than now, and it looks as if 2022 will be Colton's most difficult to date. Palou was able to secure the 2nd year championship that Rossi and Herta were supposed to obtain. I hear Jim Carrey saying, "that's gotta hurt." Now I will say that it is not only the drivers. Andretti Autosport has been horrible at times. Their engines have not seemed to have the same power and the car seems to under perform at certain tracks.
Personally I am a Herta fan. I would like to see him succeed in his goal of winning that championship. He has knocked on the door to an Indy 500 win or two. And I do understand the alure of that win, but a championship shows a season long consistancy that proves you are the driver everyone expected you to be.
It doesn't matter when he wins one as long as it happens. If he wins multiple championships then no one will remember the beginning slump. I know how hard it is to win a "spec" series championship. There is a level of luck that does play a part, but I hope to see a certain level of consistency from Colton this year. Let's bet back up on the season podium at the least. I wish him and his crew the best of luck because Rossi is hungry and Grosjean is coming.