Felipe Drugovich will remain Aston Martin’s test and reserve driver for 2024, as well as making an FP1 appearance in Abu Dhabi this year.
The Brazilian won the Formula 2 championship in 2022 and was signed as a reserve by Aston, taking part in preseason testing in place of the injured Lance Stroll. Drugovich has also completed plenty of mileage in a previous generation car but a race seat in Formula 1 has not been forthcoming and he’ll retain his current role for next year.
“I’ve been really comfortable with the team, they’ve been really helpful for me and trying to prepare me as best they can,” Drugovich said. “Obviously we were waiting to see if there were other opportunities in Formula 1, but at the moment I think it’s the best option for me just to stay here.
“They are really taking care of me and one of the things I like is I can develop myself here and just try to improve on-track and off-track all the time. Also doing tests and private tests and this kind of stuff. I feel ready but I can always be more ready than this. So it’s good.”
Drugovich will take part in FP1 at the final race of the season to get another taste of current machinery, and while he misses racing he says he feels Aston Martin would not stand in his way if an F1 race seat became available.
“I wish I was racing something, obviously. I’ve been doing it for 15 years and suddenly one year you don’t have anything to do — it’s quite tough. But even though I’m not racing I feel ready to race whenever I can thanks to these tests and all the development things I’m doing with the team.
“It’s frustrating for a driver coming up that there is no place and many drivers that have either done the same or less than you get the chance, or got the chance in the past, and you don’t. But it is what it is — we can’t change it and I just have to work as much as I can to show that I am able to be there. Maybe one day it will be enough to be a proper F1 driver for the whole year.
“It depends always on the team. I think no team would hold you if an opportunity comes — like a main seat somewhere else — but I think I’m very comfortable where I am right now. It’s a good place for me, I enjoy doing these things. At the beginning of the year I would say it was a bit hard to enjoy not racing, but you learn how to do it and I think I’m in a good place right now.”
If Drugovich is hoping a seat will open up at Aston, then Lance Stroll insists it won’t be his despite a tough second half of the season.
“The plan is I’m staying next year,” Stroll said. “It’s been a challenging season at times for sure. Some great highlights but also some really frustrating days of recent, but the plan is to keep going next year, for sure.”