Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur believes it would be a “mistake” for him to promote teenage prodigy Theo Pourchaire to Formula 1 too early.
Pourchaire, 17, won the Monaco feature race in Formula 2 earlier in the season and has impressed onlookers so far, after his step up following finishing as runner-up in the Formula 3 championship last season.
Vasseur manages Pourchaire’s development through the Sauber young driver programme, and feels it is key for the young Frenchman to bide his time and gain valuable experience before he drives a Formula 1 car in anger.
“We have a contract with Theo, but again I don’t want to be in a rush with Theo, we have to keep in mind that he is 17,” said Vasseur, via Motorsport.com.
“If you compare with all the other talents coming into to F1 they are much older and I don’t want to make any comparison with Lewis (Hamilton), Nico (Rosberg) or Charles (Leclerc), they were much older and had bigger experience, and I think it will be a mistake to push him too early.
“He will have to do the job in F2 first then we will have time to discuss later on. I was impressed by Theo [this year] but I was also impressed by Theo last year.
🎓 @TPourchaire won in Monaco while still at school…
— Formula 2 (@Formula2) June 22, 2021
He continued: “For next year it is a bit too early as he has only done three races in F2 and if you remember in the past the guys were able to be champion or to have good results in the first year and in the last part of the season.
“He is more than young, he is 17 and still chasing a drivers licence and we have to let him have time to do the job. We are not in a rush but I think he is a very good one [driver].”
Formula 1 no longer allows new drivers to enter the sport who are under the age of 18, but Pourchaire looks to be showing the potential to step up in the not-too-distant future.
Pourchaire became the youngest ever race winner in Formula 2 with his feature-race victory around Monte Carlo but he admitted himself that he still feels like he’s “really far away” from a Formula 1 drive.
He has recently been recovering from injury after a crash in Azerbaijan that left him with a fractured arm, but the team are hopeful that he will be able to make a return in time for the British Grand Prix weekend.
“He had an issue on the arm but a small break. He looks okay and the doctor was very optimistic to let him go to Silverstone,” Vasseur said.