(Motorsport-Total.com) – Newly crowned Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich has been signed by Aston Martin as a reserve driver and the first member of the new youth development program. Drugovich clinched the Formula 2 title at Monza on Saturday with three races remaining.
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Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich on the podium at Baku 2022
Aston Martin announced on Monday that Drugovich has been accepted into the youth program and will begin his first free practice at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Brazilian will also complete an extensive testing program as part of his role, where he will take part in post-season testing in Abu Dhabi and accumulate time in the 2021 car until next year. He will also compete in selected races to support 2023 drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.
Drugovich: “He wants to drive in Formula 1 in the future”
“Being accepted into the AMF1 driver development program is a great opportunity for me and contributes to an exciting and successful 2022 season,” said Drugovich. “Winning Formula 2 has long been recognized as the best way to start a career in Formula 1 and I see my role in AMF1 as giving me the tools I need to take this important step.”
“For me, 2023 will be a learning curve: I will work with a Formula 1 team, but my main goal is to learn and develop myself as a driver. I hope this gives me the opportunity to play in driving in Formula 1.”
The Formula 2 titles officially guaranteed him a top-class license for 2023 and also ensured that he can now afford to train in Abu Dhabi without the distraction of the Formula 2 title fight.
Why the PR revolution is not possible in Brazilian training
Aston Martin gave up one of its two starters to Nyck de Vries at Monza last weekend and will have to add another before the end of the season.
However, there will be no PR revolution using Drugovich in his home race in Brazil, as it is a fast weekend and one of the regular drivers would have to go straight into qualifying without preparation. Therefore, the team is focusing on the final in Abu Dhabi.
To compete in FT1 this year, Drugovich has yet to obtain a Good Friday Licence, which means he must complete 300km of races in the current car.
The Silverstone team still has last season’s AMR21 running, which will be driven by Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Driver of the Year winner Zak O’Sullivan as part of its October target. In theory, the team could also allow Drugovich to drive on the same day.
Team boss Krack rants about Drugovich
The Brazilian is now one of Aston Martin’s available reserve drivers in Formula 1. This also includes Nico Hulkenberg, who represented Sebastian Vettel in the first two races of the 2022 season. However, Hulkenberg is said to be targeting a return to racing with Haas next year .
“Felipe has shown incredible talent, determination and determination to win this year’s FIA Formula 2 Championship,” said Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack. “I especially remember his great victories in the sprint and feature races in Barcelona in May, which were very impressive.”
“We are delighted to have him join our driver development program and look forward to welcoming him to our team in Abu Dhabi in November,” added Krack.
Lawrence Stroll explains the new youth program
Aston Martin CEO Lawrence Stroll said the creation of the limited program was “a fantastic opportunity to develop the next generation of racing drivers”.
“We have watched and admired Felipe’s journey to success in Formula 2 this year and we want to give him all the knowledge and experience he needs to take the next step in his career,” says Stroll.
“In due time it will be the ultimate confirmation if he becomes a Formula 1 driver and joins the great ranks of Brazilian racing drivers such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna.”