Alfa Romeo Team Principal Frederic Vasseur says he is considering “five or six” drivers to place alongside Valtteri Bottas for the 2022 Formula 1 season.
Earlier this week, the team announced the signing of Bottas on a multi-year deal, with the Finn replacing compatriot Kimi Raikkonen.
A handful of junior drivers, including Guanyu Zhou and Theo Pourchaire have been linked to the second seat, as has Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries.
Vasseur stated that Alfa Romeo will analyse the next two Formula 2 rounds at Monza and Sochi before discussing its potential second driver for next year.
“We always say we want to have a look on the junior series, they are doing two races in a row in Monza and Sochi and probably by the end of September, we will discuss the point,” Vasseur said.
“It’s not that because you are speaking with someone that you want to have the guy in the car next year. There are probably five or six names on the list.
“[Zhou] is the front runner in F2, he is doing a good job in F2, he’s won a couple of races from the beginning of the season.
“But you know F2 this season is a bit different compared to the rest, they’ve done only four events [until] today. Difficult tracks, the first one was Bahrain and then they went to Monaco, Baku and the fourth one was Silverstone.
“But I think Monza and Sochi are perhaps a bit more conventional. And let’s have a look at the evolution of the young ones, then we will see what will happen.”
Pourchaire is part of the Sauber junior team, and recently tested with Alfa Romeo, driving the 2019 C38 car at the Hungaroring last month.
Vasseur added that he is aware of the danger of promoting Pourchaire, who turned 18 in August, too early into F1.
“Theo is doing a good job, he did two huge performances,” Vasseur said. “Monaco was a good one but also Silverstone. Then we have to let Theo [have] the time to improve.
“F1 is very complicated, we have a very limited number of test days, next year we have a new car, all the teams could have reliability issues.
“It means we could arrive at Bahrain with a very low mileage. We have to consider this also. For the driver it’s never easy, it’s a challenge, but we have to give them time, for sure.”