A Teenager Could Unseat Zhou Guanyu at Alfa Romeo F1

·2 min read
Photo credit: Joe Portlock - Formula 1 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Joe Portlock - Formula 1 - Getty Images
  • Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur is considering the team's own junior driver, Theo Pourchaire, to replace Zhou Guanyu for 2023.

  • Pourchaire is second in the Formula 2 standings behind Felipe Drugovich. American Logan Sargeant is third in F2.

  • To potentially complicate things, Pourchaire says this will be his final year in F2.

The battle to become Valtteri Bottas' teammate at Alfa Romeo in 2023 appears to be down to two drivers.

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur is personally championing the Sauber team's own junior Theo Pourchaire, the 18-year-old fellow Frenchman who is a title contender in Formula 2 this year. Pourchaire is second in the F2 standings behind Felipe Drugovich. American Logan Sargeant is third in F2.

Vasseur says Pourchaire, who turns 19 on August 20, will be making a Friday practice or tire testing appearance for the Formula 1 team in 2022.

"We'll find the solution, don't worry," Vasseur said recently.

At the same time, Alfa Romeo is not yet ready to confirm that current driver Zhou Guanyu will be keeping his seat next year, even though the team says it is impressed with the Chinese rookie. He currently sits 17th in the Formula 1 Drivers' Standings with five points.

Zhou has scored points in just two races. He finished 10th in the season opener at Bahrain and was eighth in Montreal. He's finished on the lead lap in four of 13 races.

"I haven't spoken to any team yet," Zhou is quoted by the Dutch publication Formule 1. "I feel like I have already proven myself as a fast driver, now I have to show that I can perform consistently."

Pourchaire, meanwhile, appears to have a lot riding on his Formula 1 hopes for 2023, as he confirmed that he will not return to F2 next year.

"This is my last season in Formula 2, that's for sure," he told the France Racing portal. "If I don't go into Formula 1, I don't know what I'll do. I haven't thought about that with my team," the young driver said, adding that he expects to have "several options".

"I don't want to think about F1 at the moment. It remains a dream to me. At the moment I don't even know if I'll be used in a free practice session, but that's a good thing because then I'll stay focused on this season.

"The rest will take care of itself."