American driver Colton Herta gets two-day McLaren test

Leclerc still has reliability concerns despite win (0:46)

Charles Leclerc says he is happy to have won the Austrian GP but says Ferrari must work out reliability issues after Carlos Sainz's car caught fire. (0:46)

American driver Colton Herta will spend two days driving a McLaren Formula One car this week as part of his testing programme with the team.

IndyCar racer Herta, 22, who is considered the American with the best shot of entering Formula One in the near future, will drive the team's 2021 F1 car at Portuguese circuit Portimao on Monday and Tuesday.

Herta's test is to prepare him for a free practice session at a grand prix later this year, with October's U.S. Grand Prix the most obvious choice.

The Californian has won seven IndyCar races since his debut in 2018.

Formula One is currently experiencing an unprecedented boom in the U.S. but has not had an American driver on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015.

Herta's options to join the grid any time soon seem limited. Michael Andretti intended Herta to spearhead his proposed F1 team, but takeover talks with Alfa Romeo owners Sauber broke down last year.

Herta will likely have to wait until 2024 at the earliest if he wants a shot with McLaren as Daniel Ricciardo has a deal until the end of next year and Lando Norris is tied down until 2025.

Ricciardo's disappointing run of form this year has raised speculation McLaren might move on from the Australian driver at the end of this year, with Zak Brown suggesting ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix the team has "mechanisms" to end the contract early if they wanted. However, sources close to Ricciardo have played down the likelihood of this scenario to ESPN and said the Australian fully intends and expects to see out his existing deal with the team.

America's hopes of an F1 driver are not limited to Herta. Floridian Logan Sargeant, 21, recently became the first American driver to win a race in F1 feeder series Formula 2. Sargeant is part of Williams' driver programme.

Next year will see the U.S. host three races, with a race down Las Vegas' iconic strip joining the new Miami Grand Prix and Austin's popular U.S. Grand Prix.