ART Grand Prix have handed Formula 3 vice-champion Théo Pourchaire a full-time seat in Formula 2 next season, announcing the promotion of the 17-year-old on the back of a superb 2020 campaign.

The Frenchman was the surprise package of F3 last season, becoming the Championship’s youngest ever race winner at the Red Bull Ring in Round 2, before going on to challenge for the title.

The Sauber Academy driver missed out on the crown by just three points, with two wins and eight podiums overall - four of which came in the final four races.

On the back of his F3 success, HWA RACELAB gave the Frenchman his F2 debut in the final two rounds of the season, where he became the youngster driver to race in the top tier of junior motorsport.

Following his four-race experience of F2, Pourchaire went on to take part in post-season testing with ART in Bahrain.

“I am very happy to be able to continue with ART Grand Prix,” said Pourchaire. “This team gave me the opportunity to drive in F3 last year and now accompanies me to the gates of Formula 1, in F2.

“This year my aim does not change, I'm still aiming for the top. I would like to thank SAUBER Academy, ART Grand Prix, my sponsors and my family. I feel perfectly ready for this new season.

“I will probably be the youngest driver in the F2 championship this year, so the goal will be to gain as much experience as possible and to progress throughout the season.”

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Pourchaire made the step up to single-seaters in 2018 and went on to take the French F4 Junior title, before switching to ADAC Formula 4, where he also finished first.

Team Principal Sébastien Philippe added: “Theo's progress has been remarkable since his debut in motorsports. F4 champion in 2019, he ended last season as F3 runner-up. Beyond the final result, he impressed the team by his evolution in a delicate context and with an extremely competitive field.

“Théo had nothing to gain by doing a second season in F3 and his move to F2 is the logical next step of our collaboration. The step is high, but between his talent, his determination and his thirst for learning, I'm sure he can make this transition a success.”