F1 driver news also includes Colton Herta, Mick Schmacher and Nico Hulkenberg.
- Felipe Drugovich will join Aston Martin’s new young driver development program, announced by the team on Monday.
- As part of his Aston Martin deal, Drugovich will participate in the opening practice session at the season-ending F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
- Aston Martin’s current reserve, veteran Nico Hulkenberg, has been linked with a seat at Haas, in place of Mick Schumacher, as the youngster’s future remains unclear.
Newly-crowned Formula 2 champion, Felipe Drugovich, has signed a deal with Aston Martin’s Formula 1 team.
Drugovich will join Aston Martin’s new young driver development program, announced by the team on Monday, and will also act as one of its reserve drivers. Drugovich, 22, clinched this year’s Formula 2 points title at Monza on Saturday, with three races of the season remaining. He has scored five victories and has 241 points, 77 clear of points runner-up Théo Pourchaire, with the rest of the field even further adrift.
Felipe Drugovich has parlayed a F2 championship into a reserve role with the Aston Martin F1 team.
Alex Pantling – Formula 1Getty Images
Drugovich is a rarity among recent junior front-runners in that he is not aligned with one of the many Formula 1 driver programs. He had been striving to secure one of the remaining 2023 race seats, though has not been considered a front-runner for any of them, and instead turned his attention to a reserve role.
As part of his Aston Martin deal, Drugovich will participate in the opening practice session at the season-ending F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ticking the regulatory box for Aston Martin, and will also take part in the young driver test after the race.
Drugovich will also have an extensive test program in Aston Martin’s 2021-spec car through 2023.
“Becoming a member of the AMF1 Driver Development Program is a fantastic opportunity for me—and only adds to what has been an extremely enjoyable and successful 2022 season,” said Drugovich. “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.”
Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll outlined that the squad “has watched and admired Felipe’s path to success in Formula 2 this year, and we aim to provide him with all the skills and experience necessary to be able to take the next step in his career.”
Aston Martin has already recruited Fernando Alonso to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel for 2023, partnering incumbent Lance Stroll.
Aston Martin’s current reserve, veteran Nico Hulkenberg, has been linked with a seat at Haas, in place of Mick Schumacher, as the youngster’s future remains unclear.
Brazil has not had a full-time Formula 1 representative since Felipe Massa’s retirement at the end of 2017. Despite the absence of a driver on the F1 grid, Brazil’s Formula 1 Grand Prix was in 2020 extended through 2025 while the country remains one of Formula 1’s biggest TV markets.
Formula 2 champions have had mixed fortunes in recent years.
Charles Leclerc and George Russell both graduated straight to Formula 1 after their respective titles in 2017 and 2018, but 2019 champion Nyck de Vries was unable to secure a seat, before making a surprise debut for Williams in Italy.
Schumacher, the 2020 champion, stepped up straight away with Haas but now faces a potential career crossroads, while 2021 champion Oscar Piastri took up an Alpine reserve role for 2022 and has signed a multi-year McLaren race deal from 2023.
Possible F1 Test for Herta
Elsewhere Autoweek understands that IndyCar racer Colton Herta is due to participate in a private test with Alpine, likely in its 2021-spec car in Europe, during the gap between now and the next event in Singapore.
Red Bull is still striving to secure a Super Licence for Herta, who does not meet the threshold, as part of its plans to get the American an AlphaTauri seat for 2023. There has been pushback from rival teams on that development. Alpine has a vacancy for 2023 but Pierre Gasly remains a contender, though will only be allowed to leave AlphaTauri if Herta is able to get the Super Licence to replace him.
Keyword: Formula 2 Champion Drugovich Gets F1 Reserve Role with Aston Martin