Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test

Drugovich to test for Aston Martin in place of injured Stroll

2023 F1 season

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Aston Martin have confirmed reserve driver Felipe Drugovich will drive for the team on the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

The team announced yesterday Lance Stroll will miss this week’s test after suffering an injury while cycling.

Drugovich will be the first to drive on the car on Thursday morning. He will then hand over to Fernando Alonso for the afternoon session. Aston Martin is yet to confirm the plans for Friday and Saturday.

The 22-year-old Drugovich is the reigning Formula 2 champion. He joined Aston Martin’s young driver programme in September and drove for the team in post-season testing at Yas Marina.

Drugovich is one of two reserve drivers the team can call on. However the other, Stoffel Vandoorne, who started 41 grands prix for McLaren between 2016 and 2018, is competing in a Formula E event in South Africa this weekend.

Three other teams have already confirmed their driver schedules for the three-day test at Bahrain International Circuit. Haas will split each day between their two drivers, beginning with Nico Hulkenberg on Thursday.

Drugovich will also share the track with reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who will conduct the first day’s running for Red Bull. Sergio Perez will run on day two and the pair will share Saturday’s session.

Alexander Albon will drive on Thursday morning for Williams, then hand over to team mate Logan Sargeant, before getting back behind the wheel on Saturday morning to conclude the test.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Drugovich to test for Aston Martin in place of injured Stroll”

  1. So no all-in for Alonso as I initially expected, so I guess giving Drugovich some track time in the test is about the possibility of Stroll not recovering in time for the opening GP.

    1. Also, the first day means it could just be shakedown, a few installation laps, wait, another few installation laps etc @jerejj, so I guess the first day is the least interesting for Alonso to drive.

      1. It would appear that all the teams have used their “100km Filming Day” allowances to do the Installation Process.
        With luck, they should hit the ground running and get right into testing and set-up.

  2. Isn’t it a bit risky to give him the first session… in case he has a bad crash and damages the chasis?

    In such cases how much can the team repair/replace the parts… usually do they carry enough parts to build a 2nd car overnight?

    1. He’s got the entire pre-season test and if he’s smart he won’t push to the limit on his first day. Also its Bahrain, lots of run off.. He would be unlucky to have a bad crash early on. (I hope I haven’t jinxed him). But his main issue is his fitness, a lot of F1 rookies underestimate how much training is necessary on the neck to drive a F1 car.

      Luckily he has had some running in an F1 car last November at the post season test, so it won’t be totally new to him.

    2. The very first session is usually the one with the most car problems, there’s a good chance he won’t even get to drive the full session while they figure out what’s wrong. Then the car will be ready for ALO

  3. @jerejj
    The reality is that the team will have a much higher chance at accumulating more laps with two cars than just one. Just look at McLaren last pre-season. These teams only have three days to work through any bugs/issues and they need a high lap count before the green flag drop next weekend. Last year, teams had the luxury of a couple days in Spain to shake down the cars before the official pre-season test in Bahrain. Teams only have these three days so they can’t afford much down time. both cars need to be lapping as much as possible.

    1. In pre season, it is allowed only one car on track per team.

    2. someone or something
      22nd February 2023, 10:26

      Both cars? The teams can only run a single car each.
      If they were allowed a second car, then, of course, replacing Stroll with a reserve driver would be as much as a no-brainer as it gets. However, in this case, the question was whether Alonso should take over Stroll’s driving duties as well and make the most of the very limited testing time, or whether a reserve driver should step in, despite having only a small chance of participating in more than a handful of races at best.
      Considering that, it comes as a bit of a surprise that Aston Martin have decided against fully relying on Alonso, so there must’ve been financial considerations in play, or they want Drugovich to be prepared in case he needs to replace Stroll in the opening race as well.

  4. 5 months later: “I’m sorry son, I know you want your car back, but you gotta be patient a while longer. Doctors orders I’m afraid”

    1. Coventry Climax
      21st February 2023, 23:00

      Sort of my initial thought; Maybe “injure” him some more, in the coming months?

  5. Great opportunity for Drugovich, he deserves it. Being so long with no team affiliation was hurting his chances, but know he has a great opportunity to rack mileage, share the duties with Alonso, and learn the most he can with this golden opportunity. Even if first day is normally correlation / shakedowns etc, it’s incredible opportunity for him!

  6. I’d be asking Lance for a full body scan. Bike crashes can do lots of things.

    If I remember correctly Mark Webber in 2010 broke his shoulder blade and kept it quiet from the team.

    1. Adrian Newey had also a tumbling with serious head injury… highspeed bike accidents are dangerous and hearing this Lance didn’t had a ‘schuiver’ (slide) on asfalt but a more damaging fall then. Probaly bruised but that will take weeks not a few days the Lance miss the first 2 races at least.
      Mark Webber had more dangerous things running if you see his pictures starving yourself isn’t healthy and that is why the weight of drivers was raised.

      1. Reports out that Lance was seen leaving the hospital with a cast on his right arm.
        Having performed this ritual myself, and don’t ask how often, it would sound like a low speed fall and the classic stick your arm out as you land routine. Embarrassing to say the least. A classic for those learning to do a Track-Stand.
        Being young and healthy he should heal enough to get back in the car in 4 weeks or less.
        If Kubica can drive an F1 car essentially one-handed, then Lance should be back and fit by the third race.

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