Kondo’s audition plans for Theo Pourchaire were cancelled

Pourchaire looked set to take part in testing at Suzuka on December 7–8 alongside Kazuto Kotaka, as the French driver was in the tire to take over from Formula E-bound Sacha Fenestraz in Toyota’s Kondo livery.

However, Motorsport.com understands the deal has now fallen through, suggesting a third consecutive season in F2 with his current ART Grand Prix team is now Pourchaire’s most likely option for 2023.

A Kondo Racing spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by Motorsport.com.

Pourchaire admitted in a recent interview with Motorsport.com that he was in talks with “one team in particular”, understood to be Kondo, about a possible move to Super Formula for 2023.

However, the 19-year-old has made it clear he is open to staying in F2 for a third season, although he ruled it out earlier in the year.

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Alfa F1 team boss Frederic Vasseur told Motorsport.com at the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month that both remaining in F2 and a move to Super Formula are still options for Pourchaire in 2023 alongside his duties as reserve driver for Team Hinwil.

“The main goal for me is to keep it in the factory, do days in the simulator, and do a technical meeting every day,” Vasseur said. “I need to select the athletic program because I don’t want to have someone not race during the season.

“In Japan they have fewer races than Formula 2 but it is also very far away. The advantage in F2 is that he can also stay with us, be part of the team and he can travel with us.”

Pourchaire’s exit from Suzuka’s test comes as a boost to Kotaka’s hopes of landing the vacant seat at Kondo alongside Kenta Yamashita.

Kotaka won the Super Formula Lights title this year with TOM’S, but doubts remain about his potential after a disappointing season in the top class deputizing for Kamui Kobayashi at KCMG in 2021.

Bringing Fenestraz back for the final two rounds should Kotaka not live up to expectations theoretically remains an option after the Formula E season ends in July.

Fraga is set to race Impul in Suzuka

Elsewhere, it looks like Brazilian-Brazilian driver Igor Fraga will have his first experience of Super Formula machines in rookie testing with Team Impul.

Fraga is set to deputize for regular team Ryo Hirakawa, who will skip day two of testing in order to attend the awarding of the FIA ​​Grand Prix after winning the title in the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship for Toyota.

However, Impul is set to maintain a stable lineup of Hirakawa and Yuhi Sekiguchi in 2023, with some other changes possible within the Toyota stable.

Fraga also took part this week in a private test for B-Max Racing in Okayama as he battles for a spot on Team Honda’s Super Formula Lights roster next year.

Additional reporting by Megan White

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