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Pourchaire: Lawson shows Super Formula is a great step to F1

Newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire thinks Liam Lawson's impressive F1 cameos in 2023 show Super Formula is the best next step for his career.

Champion Theo Pourchaire, ART Grand Prix

Champion Theo Pourchaire, ART Grand Prix

Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Sauber Academy driver Pourchaire sealed the F2 title in Abu Dhabi with ART Grand Prix after seeing off Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti.
But with Williams' confirmation that it will retain Logan Sargeant, all grid slots are set for the 2024 F1 season, which will remarkably feature an unchanged line-up of drivers compared to how the 2023 season ended.
Japan's Super Formula series, which features cars that slot in between F1 and F2 machinery in terms of downforce levels, is Pourchaire's 'plan A' to continue racing in 2024 in anticipation of an F1 seat opening up in 2025.
The Frenchman is set to take part in the series' three-day rookie test at Suzuka this week as he gets a first taste of the SF23 with Toyota squad Impul.
Ahead of finalising a race deal in the series, Pourchaire thinks this year's Super Formula runner-up Lawson's impressive cameo as a substitute for the injured Daniel Ricciardo shows that the series is the perfect preparation for an F1 seat.
"I think Lawson showed that it's a great category for that because as soon as he jumped into the F1 car he was really quick," Pourchaire said.
"He's a great driver, I know him, but Super Formula is really great car.
"The tracks are difficult, a track like Suzuka has really high-speed corners, so it's important to be confident and trust the car and that's what F1 is about to me.
"Super Formula is plan A but nothing is sure yet. I'm in talks with some teams and with the Sauber Academy as well for the financial support."
Champion Theo Pourchaire, ART Grand Prix

Photo by: James Sutton / Motorsport Images

Champion Theo Pourchaire, ART Grand Prix

Pourchaire is the third F2 champion in a row not to be promoted to F1 directly after Oscar Piastri in 2021 and Felipe Drugovich last year both missed out. The 20-year-old admitted he was disappointed not to find a seat, but feels time is still on his side.
"Of course, I'm disappointed because my dream is to be an F1 driver, but there's no space for next year," he said. "It's okay, I'm 20 years old. I'm super young.
"Let's see at the end of the 2024 season, there will be a lot of drivers out of contract, so I will try to keep myself busy next year and show myself as much as possible.
"I'm a Formula 2 champion now, so it's different. Before that I had no major titles in my career, so it's changed a lot of things."
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While Piastri spent a full season on the sidelines as an Alpine reserve driver before being snapped up by McLaren, Pourchaire reckoned it is key for him to keep racing in 2024 and hone his skills.
"It's very important because I want to keep racing, also for my physical and mental shape, to be involved in the championship and being under pressure," he said.
"If I want to go to F1 I think I have to show myself again in a competitive series to win races, do qualifying laps, drive in the rain, overtake cars.
"[Sitting out a year] is doable but tough. Oscar did it very well and now he's driving in F1. Hopefully, I can join him in the future."
Japan's Ritomo Miyata, who beat Lawson to this year's Super Formula title, will make a step in the opposite direction after being announced by Rodin Carlin for F2 2024.

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