until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Drugovich was Aston’s only logical Plan B – even over Vettel

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Confirming Felipe Drugovich as the Plan B should Lance Stroll not be able to race in Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix season opener is the only sensible choice Aston Martin could have made.

Once Drugovich had taken part in the test, it was entirely logical that he – rather than fellow reserve Stoffel Vandoorne – should be the first choice to replace Stroll.

He is understood to have completed several days in the Aston Martin simulator, he has driven the car on-track, and he’s been embedded in the team through the test around his driving.

So, it was strange that Aston Martin hesitated in confirming this – which invited suspicion and rumour – given Drugovich was an obvious candidate over Vandoorne or even the notion of a shock Sebastian Vettel recall.

There was a nice romanticism about the Vettel rumour and the hesitancy Aston Martin had in shutting down the speculation suggests there might have been a degree of truth to suggestions that somewhere in the team, someone liked the idea.

But Vettel chose to retire and he’s probably not kept himself F1-fit. What’s more, spurning Drugovich would have completely undermined both his role as reserve and the young driver programme that he is the first representative of.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Day Two Sakhir, Bahrain

This is the role he is contracted to fulfil and as a Formula 2 champion, he is clearly not a bad option from a competitive perspective anyway.

He seemed to impress the team in the test, did a solid job on track – with the apparent competitiveness of the Aston Martin, Drugovich is simply the best option to get a result out of the second car.

And the arguments for Drugovich over Vettel won’t change for Jeddah if Stroll isn’t ready for that weekend either. Mileage in the current car is what counts and Drugovich would have a whole Bahrain GP weekend and a full day of testing under his belt by then.

As for Vandoorne, he’s done nothing wrong himself. But he was racing in Formula E on Saturday so couldn’t be on-site at testing.

He’s behind Drugovich in his understanding of the car and his F1 experience keeps getting further in the past.

Vandoorne remains a brilliant option to have around, especially if Drugovich can’t attend every race. He could probably slot in next weekend and do a good job.

But there are more reasons to go for Drugovich at this stage.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks