Winning in Formula 2 does not always guarantee an opportunity to make the big leap towards Formula 1. Theo Pourchaire is also aware of this and, after winning the title in the preparatory category in his third year, decided to fly to Japan to take part in the Super Formula rookie tests, one of the most important series in the Japanese scene.
The French driver won the title in the last race of the season, beating competition from Frederick Vesti, who had managed to keep the fight open at least until the final weekend of the season.
Pourchaire is part of the Sauber Academy, but the Formula 1 team has decided to renew Guanyu Zhou’s agreement for another year, while Valtteri Bottas’ seat has never been in question having signed a multi-year contract when he decided to settle down with the Swiss team. Although the Frenchman will continue to be part of the Hinwil team as a simulator driver and reserve for overseas events, it is clear that, not being able to race in Formula 1, it is essential to find a way to continue racing and not lose certain mechanisms acquired in years of career.
Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
Theo Pourchaire, Alfa Romeo F1 Team
A few months ago Alessandro Alunni bravo, the manager of Sauber, had explained how he was discussing together with the transalpine driver’s managers the possibility of finding him a seat in a category to keep him trained. There were mainly two options: a commitment to the WEC or to Super Formula, one of the most famous and important series in Japan. One of the two options has materialized and Pourchaire will take part in the tests that will take place in Suzuka from 6 to 8 December.
It is not the first time that a Formula 2 driver decides to attempt the Japanese adventure: Stoffel Vandoorne spent a year in Japan before joining McLaren in 2017 and in the following season he was also followed by Pierre Gasly, who raced in Super Formula after winning the GP2 title. This year Liam Lawson also attempted the experience in the Land of the Rising Sun alongside the Formula 1 program, also obtaining good results.
Although his participation in the full season has not yet been officially announced, this test represents a first step for Pourchaire towards the Japanese championship. The Frenchman will drive for the Toyota Impul team on the opening two days of the test and will share the number 19 SF23 with Dane Oliver Rasmussen, who was recently named lead driver for Jota’s expansion to a second customer Porsche 963 in the World Endurance Championship .
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
Ayumu Iwasa, DAMS
Meanwhile, young Red Bull-Honda driver Ayumu Iwasa, in Formula 2 this year, will drive for Mugen, having already been announced as Liam Lawson’s full-time replacement for the 2024 season. Iwasa got to test the car in occasion of the Honda Thanks Day event in Motegi last weekend, in view of its first real participation in the tests in the coming days.
There is also a lot of curiosity for Juju Noda, daughter of former Formula 1 driver Hideki Noda, who will be one of the three drivers who will carry out the tests for TGM together with Nobuharu Matsushita and Rasmus Lindh. For the young seventeen-year-old it will be a return to Japan, after in recent years she has taken part in several championships in Europe, including the Danish F4 in 2021, the W Series in 2022 and the EuroFormula Open in 2023.
#Pourchaire #Iwasa #Super #Formula #tests #leaving