Theo Pourchaire to get FP1 debut at Austin, and gets reserve driver role with AlfaRomeo
Sauber Academy driver Theo Pourchaire will make his F1 race weekend debut at the Circuit of The Americas during the United States Grand Prix when he'll be driving in first practice for Alfa Romeo and he will be one of the team's reserve drivers for 2023.
The French driver joined Sauber Academy in 2019 and will take over Valtteri Bottas's Alfa Romeo C42 for FP1 on Friday in Texas. Currently second in the Formula 2 standings, Pourchaire has also been confirmed as one of Alfa Romeo's reserve drivers for next season.
Pourchaire’s outing falls under the new for 2022 requirement for teams to give at least two FP1 outings to drivers with two F1 stats or fewer and it may already complete the set for Alfa, given that it has been reported that Zhou’s presence in FP1 during his debut weekend in Bahrain also qualified.
The COTA FP1 will not mark Pourchaire’s first F1 car experience as he had already driven an older spec Alfa Romeo back in 2021 at the Hungaroring.
Statement from Fred Vasseur:
"Theo has been delivering great performances over the course of this season, as well as during the previous years. We have been working closely with him for almost four years now, as a member of our Academy, and we have been impressed by his constant progress and development as a driver first and, equally importantly, as a person. We are delighted to give him his first Free Practice outing next week. it’s a well deserved opportunity, and I’m confident he will once again impress us with his performances, as he will help the team gather valuable data ahead of the United States Grand Prix."
Statement from Theo Pourchaire:
"I am thrilled to be making my Free Practice debut in Austin; it will be my second time behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, but in some ways, it will feel like it’s the first time, as this time it will be during an official Grand Prix session. It feels like a dream coming true, and I want to thank Alfa Romeo F1 Team for putting their trust in me and granting me this amazing opportunity: I am looking forward to being on track, and I will make sure to get the most out of it and to do my best to support the team as they prepare for the United States Grand Prix."
Pourchaire’s F2 and F3 career:
Theo Pourchaire is currently second in the Formula 2 standings, with just one round remaining, it is a distant second place to the already crowned Felipe Drugovich. Pourchaire joined the ART Grand Prix team in the FIA Formula 3 championship in the 2020 season, where he won two races and became vice champion, losing to Oscar Piastri by only three points. In 2021, he continued with the same team, but in Formula 2, and it was a really busy season for him. Theo won the pole position and won Sunday's race at the Monaco Grand Prix, which is essentially his home, and became the youngest winner of a Formula 2 race. At the race in Baku, Theo collided with Marcus Armstrong and suffered a broken wrist as a result of the accident. And, perhaps, the most memorable and terrible moment in his career is the stage in Jeddah. At the start of Sunday's race, his car stalled, and Enzo Fittipaldi, not noticing him in the stream of other cars, crashed into him at a high rate of speed thereafter the race was stopped for a long time. During those one and a half hours, even rumors leaked that one of the two drivers had suffered a spinal fracture, but fortunately Theo escaped with bruises and was able to take part in the season finale, and Enzo broke his heel. At the end of the season, Theo finished fifth in the championship standings.