Aston Martin have signed 2022 F2 champion, Felipe Drugovich to their new Driver Development Programme.
This new Driver Development Programme has been set up in order to provide a new pathway for junior drivers looking to reach F1, with Drugovich becoming the first member after he signed his contract on Saturday (10 September) which coincidentally was the day he sealed the F2 title.
Drugovich has won five races en route to the title – including a double in Spain – which ultimately prompted Aston Martin to sign the 22 year-old Brazilian as a Reserve Driver, with intention for him to substitute Lance Stroll in FP1 at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 18 November.
The Brazilian will then drive for the team in the post-season’s Young Driver Test also in Abu Dhabi, although he will in the mean time conduct ‘an extensive test programme’ at the wheel of last season’s car and attend selected races with the trackside team.
Speaking about his decision to join Aston Martin’s Driver Development Programme, Drugovich commented: “Becoming a member of the AMF1 Driver Development Programme is a fantastic opportunity for me – and only adds to what has been an extremely enjoyable and successful 2022 season.”
Drugovich also reflected on the impact that winning the F2 title has already had as he added: “Winning in Formula 2 has long been regarded as the best possible launchpad into a career in Formula One, 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 One in the future.”
Aston Martin F1 Team Principal, Mike Krack added that he is “delighted” to sign Drugovich who he believes has demonstrated “incredible talent, determination, and consistency” this season in F2, as he singled out the Brazilian’s performance in Spain for praise.
Executive Chairman, Lawrence Stroll meanwhile iterated that the new Driver Development Programme is designed to reward “young talent, and this is a fantastic way to help develop the next generation of racing drivers.”
Stroll also spoke about the decision behind signing Drugovich as he commented: “We have 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.
“In the fullness of time, it would be the ultimate validation if he were to become a Formula One driver, joining the great pantheon of Brazilian racing drivers such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna.”