Former F1 champion Mario Andretti has revealed Colton Herta was slated to drive in the Abu Dhabi post-season test last year after outperforming Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi on Alfa Romeo's simulator.
Andretti's son Michael bid last year to take over Sauber, which runs the Alfa Romeo F1 team, only for the deal to fall apart at the 11th hour.
The American has since launched another attempt to join the F1 grid, this time as an original entry under the name 'Andretti Global' which awaits FIA confirmation over a place on the 2024 grid.
Asked if fronting an F1 team was always on the table by motorsport YouTuber David Land, 1978 champion Andretti Sr explained: "Michael, he stepped out of the cockpit way too early. Looking at my career vis-a-vis his, he was at the top of his game.
"But he just looked at more of a future in the sport and to become a team owner was something that was always in the back of his mind - never mine, but his - and he loved the business side of it.
"You can see he has cultivated... I don't know how many team owners are involved in as many disciplines as Michael is.
"You can see even the Road to Indy, he has cultivated talents right from that by having teams in the USF2000, in Indy Lights and so on and so forth and he has made the best of it."
Referring to Andretti Autosport's IndyCar driver Herta, Andretti Sr continued: "Look at the talent that is demonstrated already, Colton Herta.
"He was in Europe at 15 years of age and was driving alongside established Formula 1 drivers right now, young individuals like Lando Norris in Formula 4.
"He went through the ranks and he won everything through the ranks and he gets to the top level in the States and he wins there.
"Not by strategy or anything, by speed, pure speed and elegant, super driving.
"When it was almost done, the deal with Sauber, he spent a week in the wind tunnel and the third day, he was quicker than Giovinazzi and Raikkonen had been on the simulator and we couldn't wait to put him in a Formula 1 car.
"Actually, it was always going to happen in Abu Dhabi but then the deal fell through and the owners wanted to stay on with 20 per cent but have full control.
"There was no way we could go with that."