Drugovich lands FP1 outing with Aston Martin at F1 Italian GP

Aston Martin Formula 1 junior Felipe Drugovich will drive Lance Stroll’s AMR23 car in FP1 at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix, as part of the team’s rookie practice running requirement. 

Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin AMR23

Drugovich has been an Aston junior driver for almost a year – he is also one of its official reserve drivers along with ex-McLaren racer Stoffel Vandoorne – and will take part in the FP1 action at the same Monza circuit where he secured the 2022 Formula 2 title. 

The Brazilian driver has previous experience of driving the AMR23 as he stood in for Stroll during several sessions of the Bahrain pre-season test which the Canadian missed following his cycling crash and subsequent injuries. 

“I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the AMR23,” said Drugovich.  

“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.  

“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.” 

Felipe Drugovich, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Felipe Drugovich, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The miles Drugovich refers to is a dedicated programme Aston has put on for him under F1’s TPC (Testing of Previous Cars) rules that permitted testing with a car that is at least two years old. 

Drugovich has been testing at the Silverstone, Barcelona and Red Bull Ring circuits as part of his Aston junior deal in 2023. 

He also brings significant backing from a Brazilian sponsor, which Autosport sources have suggested may make him a possible late mover in the 2024 driver market – particularly for teams towards the rear of the field that currently have open spots for that season. 

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He has also been linked with a possible move into Formula E for 2024. 

“We are delighted to be able to provide Felipe with another opportunity to drive the AMR23,” said Aston team boss 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.” 

Aston’s decision to hand Drugovich his FP1 outing at Monza is additionally significant because it is occurring on the second ATA (alternative tyre allocation) weekend experiment of 2023, following the first taking place in Hungary after the initial Imola trial was canned along with the rest of that cancelled event. 

Each team has a reduced set of tyre sets as part of a trial to improve F1’s sustainability efforts in tyre transportation, as well as increase race tyre strategy variance.  

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