Ex-Lewis Hamilton engineer highlights sidelined champion who ‘deserves’ F1 seat

Thomas Maher
Theo Pourchaire, Arrow McLaren, Barber Motorsports Park.

Theo Pourchaire has the skills to make it in F1, according to his former F2 boss.

ART’s F2 manager said he believes Theo Pourchaire deserves a shot in F1, as the young French driver has started racing in IndyCar.

Sauber Academy racer Theo Pourchaire, currently the Stake team’s reserve and test driver, is currently racing in IndyCar after getting a call-up to stand in for the injured David Malukas.

Frederic Guyot: Theo Pourchaire one of the ‘top three’ juniors available

2023 Formula 2 Champion Pourchaire, unable to race in the series again, is enjoying a varied 2024 season after signing a deal to race with Team Impul in Super Formula, as well as making his debut in IndyCar for Arrow McLaren.

In his first race in the American series, Pourchaire raced to 11th place from 22nd on the grid, settling in immediately and stating afterward that “the racing in IndyCar is amazing”.

Frederic Guyot, who is ART’s F2 boss and helped Pourchaire during his title year last season, was also Lewis Hamilton’s race engineer during the seven-time F1 World Champion’s time in GP2 and is well-placed to evaluate Pourchaire’s talents.

Speaking to GPFans, Guyot said he believes Pourchaire has the ability to make it in F1 if the opportunity arises.

“I think he deserves to be there,” he said.

“His first season was impressive in F3 by being second in the championship, coming from F4.

“His first season in F2 was good, and in the second season, we were a bit unlucky, probably under a bit too much pressure for him, and then it started to be a bit difficult.

“In the third season, he did the job with only one goal: to be champion, which he realised.

“He’s still very young, and … he’s in the top three guys you can have in junior series at the moment.”

Pourchaire is in danger of being a victim of bad timing as he waits for a chance to open up in Formula 1, with Sauber currently on the prowl for drivers – unfortunately for Pourchaire, this coincides with the team’s metamorphosis into Audi as the German manufacturer looks to carve out its own path.

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While Pourchaire is arguably not at the top of any shopping lists due to the vast amounts of experience currently available on the driver market, he’s not completely without hope of being given an opportunity, and Guyot believes he has the talent to deliver if such an opportunity does arise.

Having witnessed Pourchaire beat out the likes of Liam Lawson and Logan Sargeant in 2020 in F3 before his move into F2, Guyot said the goal during the period of 2021 to ’23 was to teach him how to handle the unique stresses of a title tilt.

“Theo is still young and was really young when he arrived in ART in F3 and F2,” he said.

“He achieved very good things from the beginning, so, for sure, he has talent.

“The last two seasons, it was more management of the pressure and management for the championship last year to make sure he would be champion, which was the main goal for him.”

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