Theo Pourchaire took the FIA Formula 3 title fight to the wire in 2020, just missing out on the crown to PREMA’s Oscar Piastri. The French driver is F3’s youngest ever race winner, but what have been the key moments in his career to date?
We sat down with the 17-year-old to discuss the moments that made him.
1. KARTING WITH SUPERSTARS
“I was testing go-karts in Oviedo, at Fernando Alonso’s karting track. At first, I was alone on the track testing, but then I saw someone else on the track with the same helmet as Fernando Alonso, but he was waiting for me on the track so it was a bit strange. I thought it was another go-karter and that he was just a fan of Alonso because he was racing with me and he was pushing me - we were battling and everything.
“When I stopped, he came to me and I saw that it was Fernando Alonso. it was super cool, because I had raced with Fernando Alonso, but it was like as a friend. I think that is unique. It was amazing, as I was only around 13-years-old, so I was young! It was magic.
“Then another time, I was testing one day in a kart and Sebastian Vettel was testing as well, I was with Cosmic karting and he was with Tony Kart. I was driving with him on the track and then afterwards he spoke with me. Him and Lewis Hamilton are my idols, so that was one of the biggest moments of my life, to see and speak with him. He is a four-time F1 World Champion and I really appreciated this moment - it was super cool. He is very humble and he was even cleaning the kart!”
2. FIRST SINGLE SEATER CRASH
“My first single seater crash in French Formula 4 at Pau, which is a city track in France. I was quite scared, but I learned a lot from that because I wanted to be really fast on the track, but it was my first time in a single seater so I needed time to learn everything. My mistake was to go too fast, too early. It was a good experience. It is never good to crash, but I learned a lot from it.”
3. FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WIN IN GO-KARTING
“This was in 2016, in a karting World Championship. I was racing in Bahrain and I was one of the youngest drivers in the Championship, if not the youngest. The race was amazing and the karting track in Bahrain is super cool. We were racing at night and it was my first world Championship race in go karts. I finished P3 and the race was really intense with a lot of on-track battles. I was super young, as I said, so I didn’t have much experience. It was a bit difficult for me to come from Europe and finish P3 in my first world championship race, but it was a super experience.”
4. ADAC FORMULA 4 CHAMPIONSHIP WIN
“This was in 2019 in ADAC Formula 4 in Germany and it was my second single-seater title, but I would say that this was the best one. It was a difficult year, but I was super-fast and super confident in the car and with the team. I was only 15/16-years-old, so to win Formula 4 at that age is young, but super cool.”
5. WINNING ON A FORMULA 1 WEEKEND
“Finally, my first F3 win was special. It was the second weekend, at the Styrian Grand Prix, starting P2 on the reverse grid after a solid P9 finish in Race 1, in difficult conditions with the rain.
“Crossing the line first in front of the Formula 1 paddock was a special moment. It is a big category and a really high level. I cannot really describe it, but it feels really good. Throughout the weekend, you work so hard but anything can happen, anything can go wrong. When everything is going right for you and you cross the line first, that is pretty cool.
“Sauber were there supporting me and watching the race, which was good. I didn’t know before the race, but to be the youngest winner in F3 makes it ever more special.”