Pourchaire set for Super Formula after finding no entry into F1

Theo Pourchaire (FRA) ART Grand Prix celebrates winning the F2 Championship in parc ferme. 26.11.2023. Formula 2 Championship, Rd 14, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Feature Race, Sunday. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com Copyright: XPB Images
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Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire clinched this year's FIA Formula 2 Championship, but found no openings in Formula 1, meaning that a season in Japanese Super Formula now beckons for the talented Frenchman.

Pourchaire last week expressed his disappointment at not finding any openings in F1 despite meeting his backers' targets by winning the F2 crown, in comments made at the FIA Prize Giving Gala in Baku where he received his F2 trophy.

F2 was previously a top route into Grand Prix racing for victorious drivers. But 2022 title winner Felipe Drugovich also found his way into F1 blocked, and 2021 champion Oscar Piastrio sat out a year on the sidelines before joining McLaren.

Pourchaire has no desire to sit on the sidelines twiddling his thumbs continuing as a reserve driver for Sauber in 2024, and intends to keep his racing skills sharp by competing in Super Formula with the Toyota-powered Team Impul squad.

“I will be a reserve for Sauber next year so I will do a lot of simulators, probably two free practice sessions, because I am still a rookie.

"Driving an F1 car in testing is good, but not many teams can offer that," Pourchaire acknowledged. "I’m trying to find a place in a good championship, and I think Super Formula is the best option for me.”

The 20-year-old French driver got his first taste of Japan’s top-level single-seater series in its official post-season test at Suzuka last week, one of two rookie drivers set to take part in the competition in 2024.

“Super Formula is an excellent category,” Pourchaire said. “It was my first time in Japan this week: the people are amazing, it’s a different culture. The car is fast, the Suzuka circuit is crazy, it goes so fast.

“I spoke with some F1 drivers before going there, and everyone told me that Suzuka was an incredible circuit. It’s clearly one of the most beautiful circuits in the world," he continued

“The Super Formula at Suzuka is an incredible experience, and we’ll see what the future holds for us," he added. “I would like to make a championship next year."


Pourchaire first came to attention as a race-winner in French Formula 4, and then won Germany’s ADAC F4 title before going in to become runner-up in the FIA Formula 3 Championship runner-up in 2020.

After taking part in the final four races of the 2020 season, Pourchaire went on to spend three full seasons in F2 with ART, winning two races in his rookie season.

He was runner-up in 2022 and succeeded in clinching the title this year with a win on the first weekend of the season in Bahrain and 10 podiums overall as well as two pole positions.

He finished the season with an 11 point lead over Frederik Vesti, who has also been cited as a potential F1 star of the future. Other drivers taking part in this year's campaign include Jack Doohan, Ollie Bearman and Enzo Fittipaldi.

But at the moment, an unprecedented stability on the F1 grid means there will be no change in any driver line-up at any team before next year's season opener in Bahrain, putting everyone's future career prospects on hold.

Theo Pourchaire (FRA) Alfa Romeo F1 Team Reserve Driver.
27.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Practice Day.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

“I am the third F2 Champion in a row who is not promoted to F1,” he complained. “Next year unfortunately I will not be on the F1 grid, which is obviously a little disappointing.

"It’s a dream to be a Formula 1 driver. As F2 Champion, I think I deserved my place, but it is what it is."

Many current F1 drivers - more than half the grid - will be out of contract at the end of 204 and is pinning his hopes of making it into F1 2025 by having a strong rookie campaign Super Formula.

Gasly and Liam Lawson both earned themselves F1 bows off the back of successful spells in Super Formula.

“Japan is obviously very far from Europe, but the cars are fast: we saw it with Liam Lawson," Pourchaire pointed out. "He had the opportunity to drive in Grand Prix [for AlphaTauri] and was fast in the car straight away, he scored points.

“So Super Formula is the best option for me. Hopefully I can do some next year and prepare myself for Formula 1 and then have an opportunity there," he said. "That’s how it is, I’m just focusing on the future.”

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