Pourchaire to make F1 practice debut for Alfa Romeo in USA

2022 F1 season

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Alfa Romeo has confirmed Formula 2 race winner Theo Pourchaire will make his first appearance in an official F1 practice session with the team at the next round.

Pourchaire is a junior driver for Sauber, whose Formula 1 team is branded by Alfa Romeo. He will drive Valtteri Bottas’s car during the first practice session for the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas one week from tomorrow.

The 19-year-old, who lies second in the F2 standings to champion Felipe Drugovich, said he was “thrilled” to have the opportunity. He previously tested for the team at the Hungaroring last year.

“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,” he said.

“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 won Germany’s ADAC Formula 4 championship in 2019, finished runner-up in FIA Formula 3 at his first attempt the year after, then graduated to F2.

“Ever since he joined the Sauber Academy back in 2019, Theo has shown impressive progress,” said Alfa Romeo’s sporting director Beat Zehnder. “He has been a title winner in 2019 and a contender in 2020 in F3; in F2, particularly this season, he’s given his all and was in the battle for the title for most of the championship.

“He is, without any doubt, one of the most promising young drivers coming through the ranks, and it’s a pleasure for us to finally see him stepping up and earning his first Formula 1 free practice outing. From the very beginning he impressed us with his professional approach and dedication to always give his very best on- and off-track, and we can’t wait to see him further unlocking his potential on track.”

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All F1 teams are required to run drivers who have competed in fewer than three grands prix on two occasions during 2022, in a new rule which was brought in for this season. Alfa Romeo will satisfy that requirement with Pourchaire’s run, as the team regular driver Zhou Guanyu was a rookie when he made his debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Two other junior drivers will also participate in first practice in Austin next week. Pourchaire’s F2 rival Logan Sargeant will drive for Williams and Robert Shwartzman will appear for Ferrari.

F1 teams’ junior driver practice schedules

Team Event Driver Event Driver
Mercedes French Grand Prix Nyck de Vries TBC TBC
Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix Juri Vips TBC TBC
Ferrari United States Grand Prix Robert Shwartzman TBC Robert Shwartzman
McLaren TBC TBC TBC TBC
Alpine TBC TBC TBC TBC
AlphaTauri Belgian Grand Prix Liam Lawson TBC Liam Lawson
Aston Martin Italian Grand Prix Nyck de Vries Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Felipe Drugovich
Williams Spanish Grand Prix Nyck de Vries United States Grand Prix Logan Sargeant
Alfa Romeo Bahrain Grand Prix Zhou Guanyu United States Grand Prix Theo Pourchaire
Haas Mexican Grand Prix Pietro Fittipaldi Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Pietro Fittipaldi

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Pourchaire to make F1 practice debut for Alfa Romeo in USA”

  1. I’m slightly unsure, but I thought Zhou driving in both Bahrain & SA FP1s was enough as he had only competed in a single race by the latter’s equivalent session & the rule is two at maximum.

    1. @jerejj Yeah, you found the loophole in the stupid explanation given here. The reality is Alfa have been allowed to not give up Zhou’s car for an FP1 because he is a rookie and needs all the practice he can get.

  2. Good for him…if he manage to refrain his temper i could ser him on the F1 line up…hope the Next season se can ser that

  3. Why does any team consider this driver a talent when he wasn’t able to win the WDC in F2 two years in a row? For a real talent, F2 is 1 year, and you’re forbidden to drive in the series.

  4. I really hope he makes it to F1.

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