Comeback king Pourchaire claims Formula 3 runner-up championship spot in debut season
Sauber Academy driver, Theo Pourchaire, capped off an incredible rookie season in the FIA Formula 3 championship with his eighth podium of the campaign, an overtake-peppered drive to P3 in the second race in Mugello. Today’s result ensures Theo finishes the season as championship runner-up, just three points short of eventual winner, Oscar Piastri of Australia.
At just 17 years of age, Theo, who competed for ART Grand Prix this season, impressed the world of motorsport not just for his speed and racecraft, but also for his impressive maturity, a trait that belies his age. As one of the youngest competitors in the championship, he produced a string of incredible performances, often scything through the field, notching overtake after overtake with clinical composure. Drives like last week’s in Monza, where he recovered to P2 after running in 17th on the opening stages, and today’s climb from eighth to the podium, set him as one of the most exciting talents to grace the motorsport world in 2020.
Graduating from the ADAC F4 Championship, where he triumphed in 2019, to the highly competitive world of Formula 3 was always going to be an incredibly tough task for the likeable Frenchman, but Theo never let the magnitude of his challenge get to him – not even after a difficult opening weekend of the season at the Red Bull Ring. Indeed, he claimed his first win in the second round of the championship, before adding one more triumph in Hungary less than a week later.
For Theo to start the final race of the season, here in Mugello, in with a shot at the title – just nine points short of Piastri and Logan Sargeant – was in itself an incredible result. To push Piastri all the way to the line, producing a spectacular attacking race despite the high stakes at play and becoming the youngest ever championship runner-up at this level, shows that the Sauber Academy driver is a true star in the making.
Frédéric Vasseur, CEO Sauber Motorsport AG: “There are some hallmarks of great champions: skill, composure, the knowledge of when to attack and when to hold back and the ability to be competitive from the very start in any championship. Theo has shown all these qualities in his rookie season in Formula 3 and it’s been incredible to watch this huge talent develop in front of our eyes. Missing out on the championship for such a small margin should not detract from an impressive performance. Félicitations, Theo – the best is yet to come.”
Beat Zehnder, Sporting Director Sauber Motorsport AG: “Congratulations to Theo for a brilliant end to a fantastic debut season. We knew he had talent when he was inducted into the Sauber Academy, but to match his skill with the maturity of a veteran in what was his debut season at this level was something that made a huge impression. Theo has a bright future ahead of him and we are looking forward to supporting him in the next stages of his career as part of our Academy.”
Théo Pourchaire: “It has been an incredible first season for me in the Formula 3 championship and I’m still lost for words after such a thrilling final race. I knew I had to push as hard as I could to get a result and put myself back in the mix for the title, and to finish on the podium from P8 on the grid is a great result. Of course, missing out on the championship for just three points hurts a little, but I know I have given everything I could, so I have no regrets. I’d like to thank my team, ART Grand Prix, and the Sauber Academy for all the support this year. I am looking forward to what our future together holds.”