Théo Pourchaire remains the youngest driver in Formula 2, despite being in his second season in the series. At 18-years-old, he has already achieved more than most racing drivers accomplish in a lifetime. Nevertheless, pressure has been his biggest obstacle in 2022.
by Tyler Foster
It is clear that Pourchaire has the talent to be a future star and Alfa Romeo F1 boss Frédéric Vasseur has recognised that. Being a part of the Sauber Academy, it seems only a matter of time until the French teenager becomes a member of an F1 line-up. Regardless of his future, this year hasn’t been perfect from Pourchaire’s own perspective.
Coming into Round 7 at Silverstone, F1 Feeder Series spoke to Pourchaire about the pressure on him this year and whether he has a lot further to go to reach his peak.
“For sure the potential is there. I have a lot of potential; the team has a lot of potential. I think I did a lot of mistakes since the beginning of the year and mentally I was not at my best. I had a lot of pressure on myself for whatever reason. I don’t know why I put so much pressure on myself but I did some changes in my stuff, people around me. A lot of things have changed and I’m ready for this second part of the season and for Silverstone.”
His vastly impressive rookie campaign last year has certainly risen his stock but also sees greater pressure upon him to make the most of his unique ability. Pourchaire went on to say that he internalises a lot of his self-conflict and that to tackle this, he has worked with a sports psychologist to help relieve pressure and stress.
Just as most drivers are self-aware in modern motorsport, it is clear that Pourchaire is extremely critical of himself and his performances. His own expectations leave little margin for error. Despite winning two Feature Races so far, Pourchaire is not content with a modicum of success. He wants to win and win big.
“Nothing is lost. I’m second in the championship, it’s still a good place but for sure I want to be champion but at the moment my main goal is to take pleasure again in the car, which was not the case in the last few races. I was not very happy. I don’t know why, maybe because of that high pressure but I’m sure I will be back at my best.
“I think it is purely from my side. Every time I was the youngest. I am still the youngest this year in F2 and that maybe is something that people can forget sometimes. I am still really young with not much experience. I’m in my fifth season in single-seaters so I think I am doing a good job but I have a lot more potential in myself. That comes from the pressure mainly of the dream. I think the dream is big; I want to reach my dream but I need to think about Formula 2 before.”
Pourchaire may be in a position that many, if not all the other drivers on the F2 grid are envious of, but that doesn’t negate the extreme pressure upon the Frenchman to achieve something special. His brilliant pole position and feature race win at Monaco at the age of just 17 was among many impressive results from his rookie season in F2 which set the bar high for his second season, adding to the pressure he was already under.
Ultimately, Pourchaire has made it clear that while he would love an FP1 opportunity this year, he is placing his current undivided attention toward Formula 2 and his aim of becoming champion. With the gap to Felipe Drugovich at the top being sizeable, it will certainly be an entertaining second half of the season to see Pourchaire catch the Brazilian.
“The championship is not really close at the top. I think I am 49 points behind Felipe [Drugovich]. As I said, I will try to now focus only on myself and to take it race after race. At the beginning of the season, I was thinking too much about the championship, which is maybe normal because that’s my goal, to be champion. Now I’ve changed a bit and I want to focus a bit more on myself. I’ve also had a bit of bad luck in Jeddah and Bahrain with the mechanical issues.”
Pourchaire is yet to score a pole position this season, but with his second favourite track being Silverstone, as well as his home race at Paul Ricard being later this month, there is no better time to prove himself than in July.
Header Photo Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd
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