Theo Pourchaire to make FP1 debut with Alfa Romeo at Austin – and take reserve driver role in 2023
Sauber Academy driver Theo Pourchaire will make his F1 race weekend debut at the Circuit of The Americas during the United States Grand Prix when he'll be driving in first practice for Alfa Romeo – and he will be one of the team's reserve drivers for 2023.
The French driver joined Sauber Academy in 2019 and will take over Valtteri Bottas's Alfa Romeo C42 for FP1 on Friday in Texas. Currently second in the Formula 2 standings, Pourchaire has also been confirmed as one of Alfa Romeo's reserve drivers for next season.
"Theo has been delivering great performances over the course of this season, as well as during the previous years," said Team Principal Frederic Vasseur.
"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."
Pourchaire added: "I am thrilled to be making my Free Practice debut in Austin; 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.
"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."
Alfa Romeo's Sporting Director Beat Zehnder said: “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.”