Theo Pourchaire has described his first Formula 1 test experience as “a dream come true” – two weeks before he turns 18.
The young Frenchman is attached to the Sauber team and being tipped for a great future in F1, although time is very much on his side to graduate given his tender years.
The early birthday present of an F1 test came as a reward for the progress Pourchaire is making in his first Formula 2 campaign.
Runner-up in the FIA F3 Championship last year, he has made a successful step up by winning the feature race in Monaco and sits sixth in the standings, albeit some way off what looks to be a five-man battle for the title currently led by Oscar Piastri from Guanyu Zhou.
Pourchaire was given a spin in a 2019 Alfa Romeo at the Hungaroring, which is permissible under the testing rules as it is a car from two or more years ago.
“Yesterday a dream came true,” posted Pourchaire on social media. “I drove for the first time in my life a Formula 1 car. I remember dreaming of that day as a kid.
“I would like to thank the whole Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen team for this amazing experience and unforgettable day.”
Yesterday a dream came true, I drove for the first time of my life a Formula 1 car. I remember dreaming of that day as a kid. I would like to thanks the whole @alfaromeoracing team for this amazing experience and unforgettable day 🙏🏻#f1 #TP21 pic.twitter.com/XDx24rmiHt
— Théo Pourchaire (@TPourchaire) August 5, 2021
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Alfa Romeo are among the teams whose driver line-up does not yet appear set for 2022, mainly because there remains a doubt as to whether Kimi Raikkonen will extend his lengthy career after he turns 42 years old in October.
If the veteran Finn decides to retire, it could free up a place for Valtteri Bottas, who has been strongly linked with a move to the Swiss-based team if dropped by Mercedes in favour of George Russell.
However, with Antonio Giovinazzi likely to stay for a fourth season, it may also open the door to a younger driver, although Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur has insisted the team are no longer obliged to keep a spot free for an academy member of their engine supplier, Ferrari.
It may be that 2022 comes a year too early for Pourchaire, whose talent has led to some lofty comparisons.
“The team think very highly of him,” said respected Auto Motor und Sport reporter Michael Schmidt.
“There are people in the team who say he’s the new [Alain] Prost. The question is whether they will promote him to F1 after just one year in F2.”
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