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McLaren adds Aston Martin junior Drugovich to its reserve driver roster

by Ida Wood

Photo: Aston Martin F1

Reigning Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich will join McLaren’s roster of reserve drivers for the 2023 Formula 1 season as part of an arrangement with Aston Martin.

It is not uncommon for the Mercedes-powered teams in F1 to share their reserve drivers with each other, and 2019 F2 champion Nyck de Vries made his debut with Williams last year at the Italian Grand Prix off the back of such an agreement while being contracted directly to Mercedes.

It has already been announced that Mick Schumacher, who is Mercedes’ main reserve driver this year after de Vries left for a race seat with AlphaTauri, will be made available to McLaren as a reserve if needed and now Aston Martin is doing the same.

“AMF1 has agreed that McLaren will have access to our reserve drivers, Felipe Drugovich and Stoffel Vandoorne, in the instance that they are required for driving duties for the first 15 races of 2023,” the team said in a statement posted to Twitter.

Vandoorne was actually one of Mercedes’ reserves last year, but departed for Aston Martin at the end of 2022 after Mercedes left Formula E and he had to find a new seat in that series to defend his world championship title.

Drugovich meanwhile was signed by Aston Martin last September during the week he won the F2 title, both as the team’s first ever F1 junior and as its reserve driver for the end of the year and the 2023 campaign.

But as he has no F1 race experience, having only made his free practice debut at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix three months ago, Drugovich would be unlikely to be called up for McLaren ahead of ex-F1 racers Schumacher and Vandoorne.

The deal between the two teams ends before the final leg of the season, which consists of flyaway races in Asia and the Americas, as that is when 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou becomes available to be reserve as the IndyCar season will have finished.