Newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich has joined the Aston Martin Formula 1 team as part of its new driver development programme.
Drugovich sealed the F2 title at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix despite a DNF in Saturday’s sprint race, taking the crown with a round to spare.
Following his title-winning F2 season, the Brazilian has been linked with a move to F1 in some capacity – and it was announced on Monday he had signed a contract with Aston Martin as a reserve driver.
The Silverstone-based outfit’s driver development scheme is designed to help forge a path for young drivers to reach F1, with Drugovich becoming the inaugural member of the programme.
As well as acting as one of Aston’s reserve drivers, Drugovich is being lined up to drive in FP1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and run in the young driver test at the Yas Marina Circuit.
This will lead to an extensive testing programme for 2023 where he will drive the team’s 2021 car and attend a select number of races as a team member.
“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 said.
“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.”
Drugovich is regarded to be Brazil’s best hope of having a representative driver on the F1 grid, with Felipe Massa the last Brazilian to race in the series in 2017.
Speaking on Dragovich’s arrival, Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack said: “Felipe has shown incredible talent, determination, and consistency to win this year’s FIA Formula 2 Championship.
“We are delighted that he is joining us as a member of our Driver Development Programme, and we look forward to welcoming him as part of our team in Abu Dhabi this November.”