From Formula 4 to Formula 2: The rapid rise of 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire


Embed from Getty Images

The ART Grand Prix driver is the youngest driver on the F2 grid and aims to get experience in his rookie year that he will build upon moving forward.

Theo Pourchaire was born in Grasse, France on August 20th 2003.  Speaking exclusively to Prost International’s Adrian Kita, the young Frenchman recalled how he started his racing journey in go-karts at the age of three.

“My father was a big fan of rally and motorsport in general and was racing go-karts as a hobby. He then decided to put me in a go-kart at the age of three and since then I never stopped because I was happy to race in the go-kart.”

He then continued to work hard and was able to win multiple Championships in his native France alongside competing in Germany and finishing third in the CIK-FIA OKJ and DKM Junior championships.

“We then entered a Championship and I started to win some races,” said the young Frenchman to Prost International. “For me, it really became my job and my life and me and my father have dedicated every towards that.”

Only three years ago in 2018, the then 14-year-old stepped up into single-seaters in the French Formula 4. Due to his young age, he was not able to classify in the main Championship Standings and won the Junior category by over 100 points ahead of second-place Reshad de Gerus.

In 2019, he remained in Formula 4 but switched to the ADAC F4 Championship. Competing with the likes of Arthur Leclerc, now F2 driver Gianluca Petecof and many more, the Frenchman clinched the title in the final round at the Sachsenring in Chemnitz, Germany.

Pourchaire after three consecutive podiums beat Red Bull Junior Team driver Dennis Hauger by seven points to clinch back to back Championships.

Last year, he made the step-up to Formula 3 and took the battle for the Championship went down to the final two races in Mugello.

Embed from Getty Images

Oscar Piastri, Pourchaire and Logan Sargeant were the three battling for the title and the F3 crown. After a third-place finish, the young Frenchman took the down to the wire, but a seventh-place finish for Piastri was enough to clinch him the Championship by three points ahead of Pourchaire.

This season he has made the transition to Formula 2 and at just the age of 17 is the youngest driver on the grid. Pourchaire spoke about what the transition has been like from Formula 4 into Formula 2.

“For me, it feels normal to be in Formula 2 today. I know it has been really, really fast I was in Formula 4 only two years ago in 2019. We decided to dive straight into F3 after my F4 Championship victories and it was ideal because I finished runner-up with ART and now I am with them in F2. It has been normal but I am one of the quickest guys, not on track but in terms of making the transition from F4 into F2.”

“I am still only 17, I am still young and I have a lot to improve on. I am not telling myself I need to be in F1 as soon as possible, but I have the support of Sauber and my family and the only thing I am focussing on is driving and giving it my all.”

When Pourchaire was still in ADAC F4 with US Racing-CHRS, the Frenchman was made a member of the Sauber Junior Team. He renewed that relationship in June 2020 and he reflects on the current partnership very positively.

“They [Sauber] started to support me in 2019 and it was called the Sauber Junior Team at the time because they were associated with Charouz Racing System. Then they wanted to create a classic junior team with no racing team inside the junior team and just the F1 team and I am proud to be a part of the Sauber Academy since 2020.”

“This year, they are supporting me a lot in everything. They have provided me with an F1 simulator, and also F2 as everyone knows is super expensive and motorsport, in general, is expensive.

“Without them, I wouldn’t be able to race in F2. My sponsors, Sauber, the French Federation and also my father are trying to give everything to me because they believe in me, but Sauber is helping me a lot this year and I’d like to thank them, thank Frederic Vasseur as they are supporting me a lot.”

Embed from Getty Images

Pourchaire started his first race of the current F2 season from pole position after Juri Vips’ disqualification from qualifying. The Frenchman reflected on a “stressful but cool” start to his Formula 2 career.

“It was stressful I have to admit. I had a lot of stress, but it was cool at the same time. Starting an F2 race at 17 years old from P1, it was so cool. I may have been a little stressed as I messed up my start but then I was P2 and it wasn’t a bad race until the mechanical failure.”

He was still able to score eight points after finishing sixth in the second Sprint Race and eighth in the Feature Race. Pourchaire thought it was “not a bad weekend” as he looks back at his performance from Bahrain.

“It was not a bad weekend. I think I did one big mistake in qualifying and that mistake cost me the top four. The front left tyre locked up into turn 10, I missed the apex but those kinds of mistakes can happen in the first qualifying session of the season.

“The first race, apart from the start, was good. My first F2 podium was in my hands and unfortunately, the mechanical failure cost me. Then for race two, starting in P19 and finishing P9 was really good with some great overtakes. I think we have to check with the team but I feel we stopped one lap too late.

“It’s really difficult when you have two cars. I know Christian [Lundgaard] had a penalty so it is normal to pit him first because he had a stop and go penalty but we have to check that because we may be able to improve on that. Finally, race three was not so good but we managed to score some points. From P10 to P8, it was not the best race, to be honest, but the most important thing is to take experience and to score some points.”

Embed from Getty Images

With seven rounds left this season, the Frenchman touched upon what his aims are for the rest of the season and what he aspires to do.

“My goal is to improve myself race after race. If I can always improve like I did last year in F3 that will be good. I know there will be some down moments like some mechanical failures, mistakes on track or maybe a little incident with another driver. These kinds of things can happen and I just want to improve myself race after race.

“For sure in my mind, I want to win and I will try to win every time, but I am still young and the level is high this year so I just want to improve and I am sure we can do something good with the team.”

The young Frenchman also spoke about which track he is most excited to race at on the current calendar and on which track he wishes Formula 2 could have visited.

Embed from Getty Images

“I think all the new tracks will be exciting for me. I think Baku in Azerbaijan will be really cool. I really like Silverstone and Monza and they are my favourite tracks in Europe. Silverstone is really cool with a lot of high-speed corners and every driver loves Monza. With Sochi, I don’t really think it is the best track on the planet and with Jeddah, we will see. It looks really strange but maybe it is a good track.

“Finally with Yas Marina, we will have one race in the night there which will be pretty cool. A lot of new tracks for me but I think they are all pretty cool.

“I am really jealous of the F3 because they get to go to Austin, Texas. The track is good and also getting to go to the USA with the whole atmosphere makes it a really cool track to race at.”

Only being 17 years old, Theo Pourchaire has a long career ahead of him and especially after the start he has made to it.

The Frenchman has seven more rounds to gain the valuable experience that comes with Formula 2 and to learn the trade before mounting a title charge in 2022.

Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt


About Author

EFL/EPL and F1 writer. @AdrianKitaMedia on Twitter for any comments regarding my pieces on Prost International.

Comments are closed.