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Formula 1 Suzuka II

Alfa Romeo targets 2024 Super Formula spot for Pourchaire

The Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team is targeting a Super Formula seat for its protege Theo Pourchaire in 2024, with the World Endurance Championship as the back-up plan.

Theo Pourchaire, Alfa Romeo F1 Team Reserve Driver

The Frenchman is well set to win the Formula 2 title at the Abu Dhabi finale, and while mathematically he could still lose out on the championship, even if he failed to secure the title it would make no sense for him to remain in the category for a fifth season.

Alfa boss Alessandro Alunni Bravi previously placed Stoffel Vandoorne in Japan when he was managing the Belgian’s progress through the ranks.

The Impul and KCMG outfits both have seats that are available and are the teams that have been targeted on Pourchaire’s behalf.

"We are discussing with his management to have a racing programme, alongside our programme,” Alunni Bravi told Motorsport.com. “We want him more involved with the F1 team, to perform more simulator sessions, and of course he will be one of our reserve drivers.

“But he needs to race. So we are looking at racing programmes, and there are two alternatives at the moment on the table, one is Super Formula in Japan, and one is the WEC.”

Alunni Bravi sees the Japanese series as a useful stepping stone.

“I think for me Super Formula is very competitive,” he said. “We have seen different experiences with Stoffel Vandoorne in 2016, Pierre Gasly in 2017, and Liam Lawson this year.

Theo Pourchaire, Alfa Romeo C43, leaves the garage

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Theo Pourchaire, Alfa Romeo C43, leaves the garage

“There are still seats available. For me it's not important for the driver to be there to win the championship, but to be in a competitive category. The car is a high-performance car with a cornering speed that is similar to F1.

“The team does a lot of work on development work on the car, because there are certain areas that are free, although next year, for instance, dampers will be fixed compared to what happened this year. There are two engine suppliers.

“So I think that the championship is a good platform, similar to F2. So I see this as an opportunity. But of course we need to look at everything. Also how much time this will take out from his work together with the team in Hinwil and during the grand prix weekends.”

Regarding the plan B, he said: “We are looking at WEC, different options, but we’re not targeting a specific team.”

Pourchaire drove Valtteri Bottas’s car in FP1 in Mexico, but had a disastrous time, and didn’t complete a competitive lap.

“We tested a brake-by-wire for the C44, next year's car,” said Alunni Bravi. “Unfortunately we had an issue, which we were not able to fix. So we had to change it for FP2, and of course it prevented Theo from completing any laps. We needed to disconnect the gearbox from the engine, and so we lost all the session.

“We wanted to give him as much track mileage as possible, and also to have a proper programme like the other car. So we didn't plan a rookie session, we planned an FP1 session.

“For me what was extremely positive was his reaction. Because he remained extremely calm, also on the radio. He gave clear and precise information to the team. I think that he showed that he's mature. So it's just a shame."

Pourchaire will also drive the C43 in FP1 in Abu Dhabi and in the following week’s rookie test at the same venue.

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