Sauber Academy driver and FIA Formula 2 race winner, Théo Pourchaire, will make his Formula One Free Practice debut next week, driving the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, during the United States Grand Prix weekend.
The young Frenchman, who has been a member of Sauber Academy since 2019, will take over Valtteri Bottas’s C42 during the first Free Practice session, as part of the young driver outings mandated by Formula One since the beginning of the season. Pourchaire had his first taste of Formula One machinery last year at the Hungaroring, as he drove the 2019 Alfa Romeo C38 in a private testing session, impressing the team with his professional approach and by adapting quickly to the car.
Currently sitting in second place in the 2022 FIA Formula 2 Championship standings with 164 points, Pourchaire had an outstanding sophomore year in the series, claiming three wins and seven podiums with still two races to go. His career will take a further step forward in 2023, as well, as, in addition to maintaining his place within the Sauber Academy, the Frenchman will also take on the role of one of Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN’s reserve drivers for the season.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN: “Théo 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.”
Beat Zehnder, Sporting Director Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN: “Ever since he joined the Sauber Academy back in 2019, Théo has shown impressive progress. 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 One 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.”
Théo Pourchaire, Sauber Academy driver: “I am thrilled to be making my Free Practice debut in Austin; it will be my second time behind the wheel of a Formula One 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 ORLEN 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.”