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IndyCar Laguna Seca

Sauber F1 team looking to find Pourchaire a new IndyCar seat

Sauber has responded to its junior driver Theo Pourchaire being axed by McLaren's IndyCar team

Theo Pourchaire, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

#6: Theo Pourchaire, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

The Sauber Formula 1 team is looking to find reserve driver Theo Pourchaire a new home in IndyCar after being dropped by Arrow McLaren.

Last week it was announced Arrow McLaren had signed a multi-year deal with Nolan Siegel to run its #6 Chevrolet from last weekend's Laguna Seca round onwards.

The news came only weeks after McLaren had confirmed 20-year-old Formula 2 champion Pourchaire would remain in the car for the remainder of 2024, having done a deal with Sauber to loan its academy driver as a replacement for the injured David Malukas.

With the Frenchman having left his seat in Super Formula to race in IndyCar and immediately impressing on his first outings, the news of him being replaced came as a shock.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Sauber F1 team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi said the team "cannot be happy" at Pourchaire's deal being cancelled, but understood McLaren's position and would instead look for an alternative ride.

"McLaren needed to change its strategy on the drivers and we understand their position," Alunni Bravi said.

"Of course, we cannot be happy, mainly because Theo has lost the opportunity to have a strong racing programme.

"This is something that can happen in motorsport, we cannot blame McLaren. But we need just now to look at the future and find another good opportunity for Theo.

"We are already working with him to secure another seat in IndyCar, hopefully we can do some races this year.

"We wanted for him to have an important racing programme because we want to have him always ready to jump into the car, if necessary.

"He showed immediately that he can compete for a top 10 position."

Theo Pourchaire, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Theo Pourchaire, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

For the remaining nine rounds of the 2024 IndyCar season, Dale Coyne Racing appears to be the most logical choice for Sauber to place Pourchaire, with the team yet to announce who will take over the No. 51 Honda-powered entry when the series heads to Mid-Ohio in two weeks.

Despite missing three rounds, including May's Indianapolis 500, Pourchaire could yet contend for rookie of the year honours, having scored his first top 10 in Detroit.

Alunni Bravi said the team's priority is for Pourchaire to be placed in a top IndyCar seat for the 2025 season, with the Swiss squad chasing more experienced options such as Ferrari exile Carlos Sainz for its F1 team.

"We are focused for him to have a strong 2025 programme with one of the best IndyCar teams," the Italian said.

"This is a very demanding championship, different track layouts, track characteristics, a lot of very experienced and professional drivers with specific knowledge of the category.

"So, it's a good environment for a driver to grow. Now we can't lose any other opportunities for him to race, because for any driver just the role of reserve driver is not enough to keep them in a good racing shape."

While Sainz also considering a move to Williams and an eleventh-hour bid from Alpine, Alunni Bravi re-iterated Sauber - which formally becomes Audi's works team in 2026 - is talking to "four Formula 1 race winners" who are free agents next year; Sainz, current driver Valtteri Bottas and Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.

"There are in the Formula 1 market four Formula 1 race winners and we are discussing with all of them," he said.

"One of the main characteristics we want is a long-term commitment with the Audi project."

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