Felipe Drugovich will get another FP1 outing for Aston Martin at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, replacing Lance Stroll.
All teams must use a rookie for at least two Friday practice sessions during the season, with the majority backloading their runs for Mexico and Abu Dhabi. However, after Robert Shwartzman drove in place of Carlos Sainz for Ferrari at Zandvoort, Aston Martin will also complete a mandatory session with reserve driver Drugovich taking over from Stroll for first practice at Monza. Drugovich previously tested when Stroll was injured earlier this year.
“We are delighted to be able to provide Felipe with another opportunity to drive the AMR23,” team principal Mike Krack said. “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 maximizing this session together.”
Drugovich has been running a previous-year Aston Martin to continue his development during a year away from racing after winning last year’s F2 title, and said Monza will provide him with a chance to put some of that experience into practice.
“I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the AMR23,” Drugovich said. “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 program. 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.”
The Brazilian’s mileage could be impacted by tire regulations at Monza, where teams have just 11 sets – rather than the usual 13 – of dry-weather tires to use as part of the Alternative Tire Allocation test that was also run in Budapest.