Theo Pourchaire says his exploits in Formula 2 this season are important for his future as it means “Formula 1 teams are watching me.”
The Frenchman is currently top of the F2 standings with only three rounds to run, leading Mercedes-backed driver Frederik Vesti by 13 points, with Red Bull’s Ayumu Iwasa a further 15 points adrift.
Pourchaire is competing in his third campaign in F1’s premier feeder series, having previously become F2’s youngest pole sitter and race winner in Monaco in 2021.
However, at 19, Pourchaire remains one of the youngest drivers on the F2 grid – something he believes gets forgotten amid his years of experience within the category.
“It’s great because it helps for my future, even the Formula 1 teams are watching me,” the current Alfa Romeo reserve driver was quoted by Motorsport.nextgen-auto.
“Of course, it’s my third season in F2, but I’m still only 19. I’ll be 20 in August, which makes me the seventh youngest on the grid.
“I would say it’s like I’m not really a driver in my third F2 season, I’m just young.”
“I don’t have as much experience as other drivers who have done three seasons in F2.
“This year I feel good in the car and I’m still improving, I’m still improving with ART Grand Prix and with Alfa Romeo F1 as reserve driver. I learned a lot from them, and that’s good.”
“As I said, there are only good drivers in this area and a lot of those drivers deserve to drive in F1.
“They drive at a high level and they push for it. So I have to stay focused and work hard, even though I’m younger than the others.”
Having been a distant runner-up to Felipe Drugovich last year, Pourchaire stormed out of the blocks in Bahrain to convert pole position into a crushing Feature Race victory.
Although he has failed to triumph since taking to the top step of the podium in Sakhir, consistency has reigned supreme for Pourchaire, with the Sauber Junior driver recording nine podium finishes.
Pourchaire reclaimed the championship lead last time out at the Belgian Grand Prix, taking advantage of title rival Frederik Vesti failing to even start Sunday’s main event.
However, Pourchaire could become the third F2 champion in succession to not be rewarded with an F1 drive for the following campaign.
Oscar Piastri had to endure a year on the sidelines last season before he made his bow with McLaren this year, while 2022 champion Drugovich has only landed a reserve role with Aston Martin.
While Pourchaire is a member of the Sauber Junior Academy, Alfa Romeo Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi has revealed the side plans to retain Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu for 2024.
The Sauber-run F1 team will transition into Audi from 2026, dropping the Alfa Romeo moniker at the end of this year.