Home Featured Pourchaire “much more relaxed” on way to crushing Bahrain F2 pole

Pourchaire “much more relaxed” on way to crushing Bahrain F2 pole

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Theo Pourchaire felt “much more relaxed” on his way to a dominant Formula 2 pole position in Bahrain after working hard over the winter to improve his qualifying form.

Pourchaire beat his rookie ART Grand Prix team-mate Victor Martins to top spot by seven tenths of a second in the first qualifying session of 2023, having previously claimed pole only once in F2, in Monaco in 2021.

“All winter I worked a lot on my qualifying pace because last year I struggled a lot, and it worked pretty well because I’m P1 and Victor is P2 so the team also did a great job,” Pourchaire said in the post-qualifying press conference. “We have to give credit to the team. The car was very good, and I felt confident in the car, very good setup so I could push a lot.”

Asked to expand on what he did to improve, Pourchaire joked that he watched the onboard of his Monaco pole lap “a hundred times” before revealing that he has been able to work on his qualifying in Sauber’s Formula 1 simulator and with the company’s engineers.

Pourchaire has moved to Switzerland, close to Sauber’s Hinwil factory, for this year and during F1 weekends where F2 is not in action he will provide simulator support to the Alfa Romeo F1 team that Sauber operates.

He has also worked to improve his mentality in qualifying, having admitted this week that he has found it difficult to push the limits on a flying lap in the past.

“I did a lot of work with Sauber, a lot of F1 simulator, work with the F1 engineers and as well I worked mentally,” he said.

“It’s so important, I struggled last year to push myself to the limit sometimes and I feel like I did a very good job today because I was just relaxed. I was much more relaxed than last year.

“It will be important to be focused on only myself, my driving, to not do any mistakes, to improve each time and to be relaxed, because I know how to drive, I know how to do the job. To do it under pressure, to do it in the quali, we have only two, three, four laps maximum each time so it’s tough, but I did it today.”

Pourchaire is confident that after its qualifying dominance, ART GP will also continue to have strong pace in the races. The team’s drivers had the quickest race runs in pre-season testing in Bahrain last month.

“In the test the race performance was good,” he said. “It will be tight for sure. I know the other drivers they are really good. I will focus on myself. For sure, the most important is to make a very good start and to do a good pitstop. After that, the strategy it will be important. But I’m confident, the car is good, so if it’s good in quali it will be good in the race. I will give my best as well and it will be good.”