Reigning FIA Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire is on standby to drive the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet across the April 19-21 race weekend in Long Beach if the injured David Malukas is unable to return.

2020 F2 runner-up Callum Ilott has been Arrow McLaren’s go-to solution for the No. 6, but he has a pre-existing commitment in Italy on the same weekend at the 6 Hours of Imola FIA World Endurance Championship event with the Herta Team Jota Porsche 963 Hypercar team.

Pourchaire, who took to social media last week to share photos from his time in Indianapolis without describing the reason for his visit, had a seat fitting at the team’s base and spent time in a simulator.

“We’re still waiting on word of what’s going to happen with David, if he’s going to be cleared to drive,” Arrow McLaren sporting director Tony Kanaan told RACER. “If he’s not, we’re going to have somebody else in the car.

“Obviously, whoever that’s going to be is not going to be Callum because he has a conflict. We have Theo as a backup. a Formula 2 champion.”

With no opportunities to race in Formula 1 in 2024 outside of his test and reserve role for Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber, Pourchaire turned his attention to the Super Formula Championship in Japan. Thanks to the relaxed nature of its calendar, which holds its next event on May 17-19, the 20-year-old Frenchman has no conflicts for Long Beach, the April 26-28 race in Alabama at Bar ber Motorsports Park, or the May 10-11 Indianapolis Grand Prix.

If Malukas is ruled out of driving at Long Beach as a result of his wrist and hand injuries that required surgery on February 13, Pourchaire would be expected to step in and race while Malukas is sidelined and Ilott is competing at Imola.

Should Malukas also be unable to drive a few days later at Barber, Ilott would be available, but with the short turnaround after Long Beach, it’s unclear whether Arrow McLaren would add to its workload by changing the car back to Ilott’s cockpit settings or go with the simpler route of holding onto Pourchaire for back-to-back events.

Looking to May with the Indy GP, Ilott has another WEC conflict with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, which could favor Pourchaire as well if Malukas requires an extended period of time to heal. After Spa, Ilott has no WEC responsibilities until June, and could be free for all Indy 500-related sessions from May 14-26 if required.