Pourchaire: Sauber didn't expect my instant success in F3

FIA Formula 3 runner-up Theo Pourchaire is targeting a move up to Formula 2 for 2021 after surprising parent team Sauber with his performances this year

Pourchaire: Sauber didn't expect my instant success in F3

Pourchaire stepped up to F3 for 2020 after winning last year's German Formula 4 title, linking up with ART Grand Prix.

At 16, the Frenchman became the youngest winner in the category's history with victory in Austria, and ended the season second in the championship, narrowly losing out to Oscar Piastri.

Pourchaire linked up with the new young driver academy established by Sauber - which operates Alfa Romeo's Formula 1 operation - in June.

But he does not think Sauber anticipated he would perform so strongly in his rookie season in F3.

"They loved it, clearly. They didn't think I could do this," Pourchaire told Autosport.

"They have supported me all year. It's great, and I'd like to thank them. I had [team principal] Frédéric Vasseur on the phone, he congratulated me. [Team manager] Beat Zehnder came to the podium and congratulated me. It's really great.

"Even though they hadn't set a specific goal for me, to get financial backing, it's obviously better to get a top three finish than to be, like, seventh in the championship.

"They still expected a good result, but they didn't think I could do that well."

Pourchaire anticipates his impressive showing in F3 this year will lead to greater support from Sauber heading into 2021.

"This year, it was an option on me," Pourchaire said. "Theoretically, next year, as it went well this year, there will be financial backing from Sauber.

"There are several things. They now have a Formula 1 simulator, so I should get the chance to drive it. Obviously, they help with my physical training and the media, and they help me at the track."

Pourchaire said he is optimistic of moving into Formula 2 for the 2021 season, believing he does not have much more to gain from staying in F3.

"Frankly, I think I don't have much left to learn in F3," Pourchaire said.

"My progression was excellent indeed, I'm one of the only drivers who have improved all year, so there's no point staying in F3.

"Then, there are other championships like Super Formula, but the goal is Formula 2 and I think I'll make it there."

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