Alfa Romeo introduced earlier this week that it had signed Formula 2 title contender Guanyu Zhou for subsequent season, partnering the incoming Valtteri Bottas.
It ended the hopes of Sauber junior Pourchaire – who additionally races in F2 and at the moment sits fifth within the championship in his rookie season – of constructing the leap as much as F1 for subsequent yr.
Talking on Friday in Qatar, Alfa Romeo staff boss Vasseur confirmed that Pourchaire could be remaining in F2 subsequent season.
“We had an extended dialogue the final couple of weeks,” Vasseur mentioned.
“He did a implausible season in F2 for the primary one, however we now have additionally to take into account that 18 months in the past, he was in F4.
“The step between F4 and F3 was large. Then he did nicely in F3, the identical for the F2. He gained this season in Monaco.
“However the automobile is so complicated and we now have simply six check days earlier than the season, it signifies that it might have been, from my standpoint, too dangerous, too difficult to do the step now.
“It is significantly better to be targeted on the championship in F2 subsequent yr, and we are going to see the longer term.”
Théo Pourchaire, Alfa Romeo
Picture by: Alfa Romeo
Groups will likely be required to area a younger driver for a minimum of two observe classes in 2022, opening the door for Pourchaire to make his F1 weekend debut.
The French teenager loved his first F1 check with Alfa Romeo at a non-public check in August, however is about for additional operating subsequent yr alongside his F2 commitments.
“He’ll do for certain some FP1s, we are going to do some check days,” Vasseur mentioned.
“We are going to attempt to put together him for the longer term, however once more, while you’re doing the championship in F2, crucial is to win the championship and to not put together the longer term or one thing like this.
“And I’ll ask him to be champion in F2.”
Zhou is at the moment in his third season in F2, mendacity second within the standings, and has already performed F1 testing with Alpine as a part of his place on its junior programme.
Requested by Autosport what qualities Zhou had proven to persuade Alfa Romeo to signal him for subsequent yr, Vasseur felt his efficiency was “talking for itself”.
“He’s a frontrunner, he gained this season in Bahrain and Silverstone,” Vasseur mentioned.
“In F2, it’s most likely the 2 most demanding tracks, Bahrain for tyre administration and Silverstone, it’s with the high-speed corners.
“He did some pole positions, he’s at all times there, constant, and I’m certain that he’ll do nicely subsequent yr.”