Reigning Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich will drive for Aston Martin in the first practice session of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
All Formula 1 teams are mandateed to run ‘young drivers’ in two practice sessions over the season, and Aston Martin will be the fifth team this year to fulfill this requirement for one of their cars. AlphaTauri, McLaren and Williams all did so by signing rookies for this season, while Ferrari called upon their reserve driver Robert Shwartzman at Zandvoort last weekend.
Drugovich was signed by Aston Martin as their reserve driver days after winning the F2 title last September, and he completed his first F1 test with the team in a 2021 car at Silverstone later that year.
He then drove for Aston Martin in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as well as in the post-season test at Yas Marina Circuit the week after.
The 23-year-old Brazilian started 2023 by driving for Aston Martin in pre-season testing and being added to McLaren’s roster of F1 reserve drivers. He has driven in private tests with Aston Martin since then, and also taken part in an official test and a practice session for Maserati in Formula E.
“I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the AMR23. The car felt great when I drove it in pre-season testing and it will be fascinating to feel how it has improved since then,” said Drugovich.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator helping to develop the car, so understanding how that correlates to the real thing will be super valuable for me too.
“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for me to demonstrate what I’ve learnt through my testing programme. Since Bahrain, I’ve done many more miles in an F1 car so I have an even better understanding of how I can deliver valuable feedback for the team. I’d like to thank Aston Martin for trusting me with this opportunity.”
Dugovich substituted for Lance Stroll in pre-season testing, and will be taking his place again this Friday.
“We are delighted to be able to provide Felipe with another opportunity to drive the AMR23,” commented Aston Martin’s team principal Mike Krack.
“He demonstrated his capabilities in pre-season testing, with a vital contribution to the team’s initial development of the car. Monza will offer another chance for Felipe to work closely with the engineers and mechanics and build his confidence in a critical session for the team. We look forward to maximising this session together.”