Colton Herta's switch from IndyCar to F1 with AlphaTauri has collapsed as Red Bull has called off its plans to hire the American IndyCar driver.
The Andretti Autosport star had been in line to replace Pierre Gasly at the sister Red Bull team, with the Frenchman then released to join Alpine and partner countryman Esteban Ocon.
Herta's move, however, was unlikely from the get-go due to insufficient super-licence points gathered from the past three IndyCar seasons, despite collecting seven race victories in the highly-competitive American series.
Whilst criticism has come in for the super-licence points structure, the obstacles in the way for Red Bull have led to the team abandoning its efforts in signing Herta.
Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko has suggested a missed opportunity for F1.
"It's a shame that people don't realise what value an American driver, especially a guy like Colton Herta, would have for the booming American market, especially with three F1 races [in the US]," said Marko to Motorsport-Total.
The collapse of the deal now blocks Gasly's Alpine switch, leaving the French manufacturer in the market for a second driver after the Fernando Alonso-Oscar Piastri fiasco that caught it unawares.
Alonso will make a shock switch to Aston Martin next season with former heir-to-the-seat Piastri jumping ship to join McLaren.
The breakdown also stops plans for Herta to test with Alpine as a way of helping negotiate the super-licence requirements.