Formula 2 leader Theo Pourchaire looks to have missed out on a step up to single-seaters’ top level for 2024, as he will continue to be Sauber’s Formula 1 reserve driver next year.
Pourchaire has been a Sauber junior since 2019, a year in which he won the ADAC Formula 4 title.
He was FIA Formula 3 championship runner-up in 2020, became F2’s youngest ever race-winner in 2021 and last year came second in the standings.
Sauber gave him his first F1 test in ’21, then he became the team’s official test driver last season. For 2023 he was promoted to reserve driver status, and was placed in F2 for a third campaign.
Although Pourchaire has done Formula E tests and at one point was supposed to drive a Super Formula car, neither series is a likely destination for 2024 due to his reserve driver commitments and he would also not be allowed to continue in F2 should he win this year’s title. That means the 20-year-old Frenchman may follow Oscar Piastri and Felipe Drugovich, the last two F2 champions, in spending a year out of racing after title success in F1’s primary feeder series.
For the duration of Pourchaire’s time with Sauber, the outfit has competed in F1 as Alfa Romeo. That arrangement will end after this year, and in 2026 they will race as Audi. There are already several drivers linked to joining the team for when that happens, with current drivers Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas also in contention to represent the German brand.
It leaves a difficult-looking picture for Pourchaire to make it onto the F1 grid without cutting ties with his long-time backers, but he has a positive outlook about spending another season as a reserve driver.
“Over the years, the team has become a family to me and, therefore, I am really happy and grateful to continue my journey with Alfa Romeo F1 Team and the Sauber Academy,” said Pourchaire.
“The support I have received from everyone in the team has been outstanding, and I’m proud to be able to contribute to the growth of the whole operation. I have a lot in me I can give to this special group of people and I’m looking forward to the future. Of course, a great way to say thank you would be to finish the job in F2 in Abu Dhabi – I’ll give everything to bring it home for the team.”
Alfa Romeo team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi added: “I am happy that Theo will remain with the team for 2024 as one of our reserve drivers: he has done an incredible job this year, not just in F2, where we will all support him as he fights for the title in Abu Dhabi, but also behind the scenes, working with the team in Hinwil.”