Alfa Romeo will give Theo Pourchaire more Formula 1 experience in 2022 and plans to field him in practice sessions on grand prix weekends as well.
Pourchaire is set to return for a second year of Formula 2 after a race-winning rookie campaign that has not quite translated into a title bid.
The highly-rated Frenchman is part of the junior team run by Sauber, which operates the Alfa Romeo F1 entry.
Pourchaire was one of the stars of the F1 support package last year, as he stepped up to Formula 3 as the reigning German Formula 4 champion – and almost won the F3 title at the first attempt.
He only turned 18 in August, the same month he made his F1 testing debut with Alfa Romeo in Hungary, and Sauber has been keen not to rush its protege’s progress.
“Theo will for sure do some FP1 [in 2022],” said Sauber CEO and Alfa Romeo F1 team boss Frederic Vasseur.
“We will do some test days that we will try to prepare him for the future.
“But when you are doing the championship in F2, the most important thing is to win the championship and not to prepare the future or something like this.
“I will ask him to be champion in F2.”
Pourchaire has won two races in F2 this season, his first victory being an impressive feature race triumph in Monaco.
Only title rivals Oscar Piastri and 2022 Alfa Romeo F1 signing Guanyu Zhou have scored more victories (three) than Pourchaire this season.
He broke his wrist in Baku but has not missed a race and has been a consistent point scorer, so lies fifth in the points with two events remaining.
Alfa Romeo did consider Pourchaire a candidate for its 2022 F1 line-up but decided it would be too soon.
“We had a long discussion in the last couple of weeks that he did a fantastic season in F2 for the first one but we have also to keep in mind that 18 months ago he was in F4,” said Vasseur.
“The step between F4 and F3 was huge and he did well in F3, the same for the F2.
“He won this season in Monaco but the car is so complex and we have just six test days before the season, it means that it would have been, from my point of view, too risky, too challenging to do the step now.
“It’s much better to be focused on the championship in F2 next year and we will see in the future.”