F2 champion Drugovich joins Aston Martin’s new driver development programme

2022 F1 season

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Newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich has joined Aston Martin as the first member of its new Formula 1 driver development programme.

The 22-year-old, who clinched this year’s Formula 2 title at Monza on Saturday, is the inaugural member of Aston Martin’s Driver Development Programme and has joined the F1 team as a reserve driver.

Aston Martin were previously the only one of the ten Formula 1 teams without their own junior driver programme or without a strong affiliation to an existing young driver programme. As part of their new programme, Drugovich will be given the opportunity to drive a free practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in place of Lance Stroll, before participating for the team in the post-season young driver test following that weekend.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack described Drugovich’s performances on his way to the F2 title this season as “hugely impressive”.

“Felipe has shown incredible talent, determination, and consistency to win this year’s Formula 2 championship,” Krack said.

“I particularly remember his fantastic sprint and feature victories at Barcelona in May, which were hugely impressive. We are delighted that he is joining us as a member of our Driver Development Programme, and we look forward to welcoming him as part of our team in Abu Dhabi this November.”

Drugovich said he was hopeful that becoming the first member of the Aston Martin driver development programme would open up an opportunity for him to eventually race in F1 in the future.

“Becoming a member of the Aston Martin 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.

“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 Aston Martin 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.”

Drugovich won the F2 title with MP Motorsport in his third season in the category. Every F2 champion since the series was rebranded by the FIA in 2017 is either racing in Formula 1 (Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Mick Schumacher), has raced in F1 (Nyck de Vries), or is contracted to race in F1 next season (Oscar Piastri).

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “F2 champion Drugovich joins Aston Martin’s new driver development programme”

  1. I don’t know how much market there is in Brazil for Astons but it’s better than nothing I guess

    1. I don’t think it’s related to market opportunities. Drugovich partners was looking for a team willingly to give him mileage with a 2021 car in 2023 and Aston was open to that, as much as Drugovich is paying the bill, others teams have their Jrs and own programme. Also they are open to give him a FP this year, that could give him some opportunity if a last moment seat opens up elsewhere.

    2. It’s probably not about that anyway, but I suppose there are many thousands of people in Brazil who could afford it, considering its huge population. Do they even sell it there and how many a year? Dunno… To me, this looks more like making a statement, showing that they are a serious team. Who knows, maybe they have serious plans about starting this new operation, I suppose they do. One thing I’m not sure about is if they even need an academy, at least as long as Lance is having a private race car. They will always need one accomplished driver as a first driver, while having Stroll Jr. occupying the second seat. I don’t see a way for them to ever hire a young talent, at least for the next hm, five years? Ten?

  2. Good for him !
    He’s been so good and consistent this year, I hope he gets a bit of time in F1 machinery !
    But other than a few FP1 it doesn’t look too open at AM for now. wWth Stroll jr. on a seemingly permanent position and Alonso probably on a 2+1, it it interesting nonetheless to accumulate laps and experience.

    And who knows? De Vries could very well be in F1 after all so why not Drugovitch ?

    1. Exactly. I was, quite frankly, one of those that sort of dimissed De Vries championship, since it was against a historically weak field considering his runner-up was Nicholas Latifi in his 4th year in F2.

      This year’s F2 crop is not stellar either, but I do think it’s better than 2019’s. Also, Drugovich was stellar. He dominated this year wrapping up the championship with 3 races to spare.

      I’m glad he got this chance with Aston Martin, because there was a lot of talk about how nobody seemed interested in Drugovich. So after seeing De Vries perform really well in that Williams, I think this engagement with AM is reasonable

    2. yes @spoutnik makes no sense to go to AM to be a reserve driver, why not go to Williams and replace latifi? Drugo’s Brazilian backers can match latifis pay driver money, maybe Latifis dad thrown another 30 million to guarantee the 2023 seat?

      Stroll has a seat for life because billionaire daddy owns the team and new signing Alonso is happy continue racing as long as possible because stroll snr offered him an insane highly paid contract to leave alpine.

  3. Joining AM is unsurprising, but replacing Stroll rather than Seb for the Abu Dhabi GP FP1 is surprising.

    1. Seb might have a contract that gives him the final say though @jerejj

    2. Each driver has got to give up their seat for one FP1 session in the season.
      Seb has already given up his seat at Monza to Nyck de Vries.

      1. Ah, that makes sense @dgracefan

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