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Formula 1

Drugovich on Aston Martin’s ‘radar’ for 2023 F1 role

by Edd Straw
4 min read

Newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich is “on the radar” as a contender for the Aston Martin’s Formula 1 team’s reserve driver role for 2023.

Reports have emerged in Brazil suggesting Drugovich is set to take the role with backing from Sao Paulo-based financial services company XP Investimentos, and it is known that he has had talks with the team.

Team principal Mike Krack used the phrase “on the radar” to describe Drugovich and confirmed that the team was on the lookout for a reserve driver.

“We have Fernando [signed for 2023] now, then we were a bit off the driver market,” said Krack when asked by The Race if there was any truth in reports Drugovich would join the team as its reserve.

“We are now looking at what we are going to do for next year because we need a reserve driver, so as soon as we have something to communicate, we will do.”

Krack described Drugovich’s F2 title-winning seasons as “impressive” and suggested that made him a contender for multiple teams.

The 22-year-old Brazilian’s status as a free agent given he’s independent of F1 teams also adds to his appeal.

Motor Racing Fia Formula 2 Championship Sunday Zandvoort, Netherlands

“We have to say, he won the F2 championship in a very impressive way,” said Krack when asked by The Race if Drugovich was an option for the role.

“So that makes him, obviously, a candidate for many.

“I think it would be wise to keep him on the radar because he’s also not attached to any academies or driver programme.”

Currently, Aston Martin has Nico Hulkenberg on its books as its reserve driver. However, he is in contention for a return to a full-time F1 race seat with Haas next year and is not eligible to do the mandatory FP1 session running for rookie drivers. This means Aston Martin loaned Mercedes reserve Nyck de Vries to drive in FP1 in Monza.

But it would be pragmatic to have a reserve on its books who is able to complete the FP1 running, either alongside Hulkenberg or in his place.

Krack said they were in communication with Drugovich but stressed he was one of many, saying “yes, but the same as we do also with others”.

Dugovich has targeted an F1 deal for next season but accepts that the chances of a race seat are remote given the driver-market landscape.

Motor Racing Fia Formula 2 Championship Friday Monza, Italy

While he has not given up all hope of a race drive, he said after clinching the title that he’s open to taking a reserve role.

“I’m trying to be around in the paddock,” said Drugovich. “There are few places still available in F1.

“Obviously, it’s very difficult to get that main seat. We’re trying, but if not, we’ll try to get a reserve seat.

“For the moment, I’m just trying to get that main seat.”

Brazil has been without a full-time F1 race driver since Felipe Massa retired at the end of 2017, although Pietro Fittipaldi did start two races standing in for the injured Romain Grosjean at Haas at the end of 2020.

Drugovich’s financial backing reflects the desire in Brazil for that situation to change, with his success in F2 making him the obvious contender to break into F1.

A reserve role with Aston Martin would be a logical step towards that given he’s not among the favourites to land one of the few remaining race seats.

“Hopefully the news will be around quite a lot, I think that there are a lot of people cheering, especially because there’s no Brazilian in F1,” said Drugovich of the impact of his F2 title success in Brazil.

“I think if you go down the ladder, I’m the first one that they can pick and it’s special to get the job done for them.

“They’re really missing someone in F1 and hopefully, I can be there one day to represent the country.”

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