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Pourchaire to get Alfa Romeo F1 test programme in 2022 car

by Ida Wood

Photo: Alfa Romeo Racing

Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire will move into a unspecificed test driver role with Alfa Romeo Racing next year after missing out on a Formula 1 seat with the team.

Pourchaire was in contention against Formula 2 title rival Guanyu Zhou to become team-mate to Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo for 2022, and was “very disappointed” to lose out to the Alpine junior on earning an F1 promotion.

However Alfa team principal Frederic Vasseur already has a plan for Pourchaire, and has set him the target of winning next year’s F2 title if he does not complete the feat this year and rule himself out of a sophomore campaign in the series.

“Next year’s plan is for me if, I don’t win the championship, I will do F2 again with ART Grand Prix,” Pourchaire told Formula Scout.

“That is 99% sure. But if I win the championship there will not be any [second] F2 season for me. And then I will take part in I think all the FP1s for the rookies. Next year there will be a mandatory FP1 for rookies. I think it is four, something like that, so I will take part in those FP1s with Alfa Romeo to drive the 2022 car.

“I will also do the in-season Pirelli [tyre] tests, things like that maybe. Not all the tests, but I will drive with the 2022 car for sure in the FP1s and in other tests.

“And I will do some private tests. This is mainly for me to get used to F1, to get used to working with the team with an older-spec car. I don’t want to say anything wrong, but maybe with the C41 [car from this year] or older. The 2019 car or 2020 car, I don’t know, but not the 2022 car. I will not do pre-season, but in-season, I will probably do some Pirelli tests [in that car].”

Only two drivers have been confirmed for the 2022 F2 season so far, with Ralph Boschung staying at Campos Racing and Clement Novalak joining MP Motorsport for the final two rounds of 2021 ahead of a full campaign next year after initially looking set to sign for Virtuosi Racing.

Red Bull is expected to move Liam Lawson from Hitech GP to Carlin and bring FIA Formula 3 champion Dennis Hauger back into the Red Bull Junior Team fold fully as he moves up with Prema.

Marino Sato is pursuing a switch from Trident to Virtuosi, while FIA F3 racer Calan Williams will drive for Trident in post-season testing next month and is understood to have already secured his place on the 2022 grid with an unnamed team.

Euroformula race-winner Cem Bolukbasi has recently been testing old GP2 cars and is linked to two teams, Jack Doohan is linked to leaving Red Bull as he steps up to F2, and Mercedes-AMG junior Frederik Vesti is favourite to replace IndyCar-bound fellow Dane Christian Lundgaard as the driver in the other ART GP car.