Felipe Drugovich, an Aston junior driver and official reserve racer for just short of one year, has been slated to participate in the FP1 action. The track in question is the Monza circuit, which bore testament to the Brazilian racing prodigy’s triumphant conquest of the 2022 Formula 2 title. Joining him on the roster of reserve drivers is ex-McLaren speedster, Stoffel Vandoorne.
Prior to this, Drugovich has had the privilege of navigating the AMR23, seating in for his teammate Stroll during a handful of sessions at the Bahrain pre-season test. Stroll was compelled to forfeit the said sessions in the aftermath of a cycling accident that left him injured.
In anticipation of getting back into the pilot’s seat of the AMR23, Drugovich commented, “I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the AMR23. The car felt phenomenal during pre-season testing and I am excited to witness its advancements since then. Spending extensive hours in the simulator to develop the car has fostered a deep understanding in me, and it will be extremely rewarding to see how this aligns with the real setup.”
Furthermore, he added, “This opportunity also serves as a platform for me to showcase the skills honed through my extensive testing scheme. Post-Bahrain, I have spent countless hours in an F1 car, and have a superior grasp of how to provide crucial feedback for the team.”
When Drugovich mentions “miles”, he is alluding to an elaborate scheme tailored for him by Aston under F1‘s TPC rules. These regulations allow testing with a vehicle at least two years old. With this in mind, Drugovich has run tests on circuits like Silverstone, Barcelona, and Red Bull Ring, in accordance with his 2023 Aston junior agreement.
Advertising support from a Brazilian sponsor and potential interest from teams at the back of the line for the 2024 driver market might make him a noteworthy contender for late transfers. Rumours suggest a possible move to Formula E in 2024 as well.
Aston team boss Mike Krack expressed his satisfaction, saying, “We are thrilled to present Felipe with another chance to handle the AMR23. He demonstrated considerable potential during pre-season assessment, proving valuable in the vehicle’s initial stages of development. Monza will grant Felipe another valuable opportunity to liaise with our team of engineers and mechanics in a pivotal team session.”
The testament to Drugovich’s FP1 outing at Monza holds additional weight as it takes place during the second ATA experiment in 2023. This initiative aims to enforce better sustainability measures in tire transportation and diversify race tire strategies. Taking place after Hungary, this followed the cancellation of the initial exercise in Imola.