until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

F2 champion Drugovich gets F1 track time in new Aston programme

by Josh Suttill
2 min read

Newly crowned Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich has joined Aston Martin as the first member of its new Formula 1 driver development programme and will make his F1 grand prix weekend debut later this year.

Drugovich sealed this year’s F2 title with a round to spare last weekend at Monza and targeted following the likes of fellow F2 champions Charles Leclerc and Mick Schumacher in stepping up to an F1 race seat the following year.

But it has become clear that Drugovich will not factor in the fight for the remaining vacant 2023 seats and instead, the target became securing a reserve role.

Over the Italian Grand Prix weekend, Aston Martin appeared to be Drugovich’s most likely destination and the team confirmed the news on Monday.

It has revealed the 22-year-old as “one of its reserve drivers” and the first member of its new F1 driver development programme.

“Becoming a member of the AMF1 driver development programme is a fantastic opportunity for me – and only adds to what has been an extremely enjoyable and successful 2022 season,” Drugovich said.

Motor Racing Fia Formula 2 Championship Sunday Zandvoort, Netherlands

“Winning in Formula 2 has long been regarded as the best possible launchpad into a career in Formula 1, and I see my role at AMF1 as giving me all the tools to take that crucial next step.

“For me, 2023 will be a learning curve: I will be working with the F1 team, but my primary goal is to learn and develop as a driver. I hope that will give me an opportunity to race in Formula 1 in the future.”

Drugovich will make his F1 weekend debut during FP1 at the season finale in Abu Dhabi before continuing to drive for the team in the post-season young driver test.

This will complete Aston’s mandated running of two young drivers in FP1s in 2022 after Monza star stand-in Nyck de Vries drove Sebastian Vettel’s car last Friday.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Day Monza, Italy

Drugovich will “undertake an extensive test programme” behind the wheel of Aston’s 2021 F1 car and will be present at “selected grands prix” with the team next year.

Aston Martin was previously the only F1 manufacturer without any form of young driver academy.

Its first driver development programme has been “designed in concert with AMF1’s engineers and management and is intended to provide a stairway for junior drivers to reach Formula 1”.

Nico Hulkenberg, who stood in for Vettel at the first two races of the 2022 season, is the team’s current reserve driver but his future at the team remains unclear as he is targeting a return to the Enstone-based Alpine team or joining Kevin Magnussen at Haas in 2023.

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