Vasseur sees Pourchaire as one for Alfa’s future

Jon Wilde
Theo Pourchaire holding No 1 board after winning an F2 race in Monaco. Monte Carlo May 2021.

Theo Pourchaire holding No 1 board after winning a Formula 2 race in Monaco. Monte Carlo May 2021.

Frederic Vasseur has revealed Theo Pourchaire, who only turned 18 on August 20, is being considered for an Alfa Romeo seat in the coming seasons.

The young Frenchman is attached to the Sauber team and being tipped for a great future in Formula 1, although time is very much on his side to graduate given his tender years.

Pourchaire recently received an early 18th birthday present of an F1 test in a 2019 Alfa Romeo at the Hungaroring as a reward for the progress he is making in his first Formula 2 campaign.

Runner-up in the FIA F3 Championship last year, he has made a successful step up by winning the feature race in Monaco and sits sixth in the standings, albeit some way off what looks to be a five-man battle for the title currently led by Oscar Piastri from Guanyu Zhou.

Next season’s Alfa Romeo line-up is shrouded in doubt with Kimi Raikkonen reportedly likely to retire, potentially to be replaced by his compatriot Valtteri Bottas.

Antonio Giovinazzi is the veteran Finn’s current team-mate but has had an unspectacular two-and-a-half seasons with the Swiss-based squad.

Rumours have indicated the Italian could join Ferrari’s new team for the World Endurance Championship and make way for Formula E and ex-Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries.

Asked whether Pourchaire is in the running for a promotion to F1 in the foreseeable future, Vasseur did not rule out the possibility.

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“I’m considering Theo, I don’t know if it is for next year or the future,” said the Alfa Romeo team principal, quoted by Motorsport Week.

“Theo is part of the family, he is part of the [Sauber] Academy. We are spending a lot of energy on Theo because we are convinced Theo is one of the best ones for the future.

“I don’t know if it will be 2022, 2023 or 2024 but I’m convinced he, at one stage, will be one of the best ones [for the future].”

Regarding the career progression of the driver who originates from just north of Cannes, Vasseur said: “I was not a big fan to go directly to F3 after F4 because I thought the step was big and you have less and less mileage in the junior series.

“I was not very comfortable and he had a tough start to the [2020 F3] season, but then he was very close to winning the championship.

“The step to F2 would [also] be huge and at the second event he was able to win at Monaco.

“He has the capacity to adapt himself to the situation very quickly, but we also have to speak about experience and this you can’t buy – you just have to test and race.”