Théo Pourchaire’s 2023 FIA Formula 2 title victory earlier today at the season finale in Abu Dhabi was the zenith of the career.
The ART Grand Prix driver only took one victory all season at the opening round in Bahrain, but steady scoring, highlighted by nine further podiums, enabled him to defeat PREMA Racing rival Frederik Vesti, who scored six wins but failed to finish five of 13 Feature Races and lacked his 2022 teammate’s consistency.
Pourchaire began his single-seater career by winning the junior title in French F4 in 2018 – he finished third overall – and then clinching the 2019 ADAC F4 title by seven points over current F2 rival Dennis Hauger.
That title run launched the Sauber junior into the spotlight and into international competition in F3 for 2020, but he fell three points short of eventual champion Oscar Piastri even with a late-season charge.
Having finished as F3 runner-up, Pourchaire moved up to F2 in 2021 and quickly became the series’ youngest-ever winner, at 17 years and 275 days, by triumphing in the Feature Race in Monaco in his second F2 round. He ended the year fifth on 140 points.
That was the prelude to the title challenge many expected from Pourchaire, the highest-placed 2021 driver returning for 2022. His assault, however, fell apart because of mistakes, mechanical problems and a sheer lack of pace, and he finished second, 101 points behind runaway champion Felipe Drugovich.
His approach for 2023 was considerably calmer, he said, and the more consistent points-scoring paid off even when he spent the middle of the season trailing Vesti.
“I learned a lot during those four years,” Pourchaire told InsideF2 in the press conference after winning the title.
“With the first year in F3 and the two of my three F2 seasons, I learned a lot. As I said also, I told the guys on the radio as well on the in lap [that] we learn the most in the most difficult moments.
“When it was tough, when we were struggling, we learned a lot, to be honest. We never gave up. That’s the most important.
“The Formula 3 title, it broke my heart a bit, but this one I was still young. Finishing second in 2020, it’s a great memory. It was just behind Oscar. He’s a great driver.
“I’m happy, and I learned a lot through all those experiences.”
As champion, Pourchaire is not allowed to return to Formula 2. He will retain his reserve driver role at Alfa Romeo as the team undergoes a rebranding, but his racing programme for 2024 has yet to be announced.
Credit: Alfa Romeo Racing