Why Felipe Drozovic is still committed to the future of Formula One

Why Felipe Drozovic is still committed to the future of Formula One

Instead, the 2022 Formula 2 champion will busy himself running SIM cards and a special testing program with a two-year-old car, which has been upgraded from the AMR21 model he used this season to the 2022 model.

As such, he is better off than some of the reserves whose only opportunities to run on track come on those rare occasions when the current car is available – essentially the odd FP1 session.

However, it is a different approach to that taken by Sauber, which is hoping to put Theo Pourcher in Super Formula, and Alpine, which is eyeing Jack Doohan’s World Endurance Championship programme.

Either way, the drivers will be out of the Formula 2 season and therefore have not gone a year without racing, as is the case with Drozovic.

The challenge for him is that the opportunities to move into a Formula 1 race position are few and far between, even when you have a good sponsorship package, as he does. Remarkably, it appears that there will be no changes to the driver line-up for 2024, assuming Logan Sargeant stays at Williams.

Indeed, Drugovich was one of many drivers eyeing the American’s seat, and the fact that his confirmation at Aston came relatively early suggests that his management accepted that a move to Grove was not an option.

Meanwhile, at Aston, he faces the unusual situation where one seat will inevitably be occupied by Lance Stroll for the foreseeable future, while the other will always be allocated to a prominent driver, be that Fernando Alonso or someone who might one day follow him. Spanish.

Filip Drugovich, Aston Martin AMR23

Photography: Simon Galloway/Motorsport Images

Filip Drugovich, Aston Martin AMR23

From the outside it is difficult to see a natural progression for him at Silverstone. However, he is happy to stay where he is.

“I think I was really comfortable with the team, they really helped me and tried to prepare me as much as possible,” he says. “Obviously we were waiting to see other opportunities in Formula 1.

“But I think at the moment staying here is the best option for me. And they really look after me. And one of the things I really like is that I can develop myself here and try to improve on and off track all the time, and also in private testing and that kind of thing.” So I feel like I’m really ready.”

Drugovich admits it is “hard to say” how close he was to landing at Williams, but decided that “the best I could get at the moment was here. That’s the main goal now, to do well.”

There is also the question of whether he will be released to take up another captaincy, should one become available during 2024.

Although he says “it all depends on the team” and believes that “no team will stop you if the opportunity comes and allows you to go somewhere else”, the Brazilian says he is “very comfortable” at Aston.

“I think it’s a good place for me, I enjoy doing these things,” he says. “At the beginning of the year, I would say it was a bit difficult to enjoy it, not racing, but you learn how to do it.” “.

Felipe Drugovic, Member of Parliament for Motorsport

Photography: Netherlands Photo Agency

Felipe Drugovic, Member of Parliament for Motorsport

Despite his clear commitment to the future of Formula 1, Drugovich admits that a racing program coupled with his own testing will have its appeal.

“I mean, I wish I was racing something,” he says. “Obviously, doing it for 15 years and suddenly after one year you don’t have anything to do, it’s very difficult.”

“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. So yeah, I feel ready.

“I’ve worked all my life to be here, to drive in Formula 1. So, even this year, I’ve had other opportunities to drive in other categories, good opportunities, good connections, etc.

“I wouldn’t say I turned them down, I just said that Formula 1 is my main goal, and I have to wait for that. And I want to be there. Maybe not the best in a career outside of Formula 1. But I’m keen to do more than that just to get a seat in some day.”

However, he admits in the longer term Aston Martin’s own supercar project could be an interesting opportunity to get some race miles in – if the Formula 1 opportunity isn’t available.

Drugovich drove the current AMR23 in testing in Bahrain after Stroll’s injury and again in FP1 at Monza, and will have another round in Abu Dhabi.

Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team

Photography: Zach Mauger/Motorsports Images

Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team

But his main homework was done in the old-spec car, sometimes running alone, sometimes sharing the track with an Alpine car, usually driven by Doohan. He admits that it’s not always easy to measure his progress.

“It’s hard to compare sometimes,” he says, “the test tires are completely different. Obviously the track is usually not at the same stage. The engine is not the same, and all that kind of stuff.”

“But actually, this year, I was impressed by the second or third test we had, we were already that way, in the qualifying lap times two years ago, which is really impressive.

“And even though I was able to drive this (current) car, the ’21 or previous generation cars are really impressive. So, it’s always a pleasure to drive them and reach the limit.”

Private racing is a useful part of his education, but Drugovich admits it’s frustrating that current car driving opportunities are so rare compared to the days when testing was unrestricted.

“Yes, because when we get the chances, they’re usually very short. So, it kind of goes where you need to be fast, but you can’t hit the car. So obviously the drivers feel a bit constrained,” he says. .

“Nowadays, we get FP1, and they expect you to show everything, so it’s very difficult. But at the same time, I think the focus on Formula 1 teams has changed a bit as well, if you win anything back then, naturally they know you’re fast.

“But when you get these opportunities, it’s usually important to show that you’re a very consistent driver, that you know how to work with a team, and that you’re mature enough to be there.”

Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team

Photography: Zach Mauger/Motorsports Images

Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team

The biggest problem Drozovic has is that it is very easy for him to lose momentum. There’s always another youngster on the way up, and the 23-year-old now faces potential competition from the likes of 18-year-olds Oliver Berman and Zac O’Sullivan.

FP1 in Mexico gave a glimpse of how much talent there is out there, and more rookies will be on track in Abu Dhabi. Right now there’s nowhere for any of them to go.

“It’s obviously frustrating for the next driver that there’s no room,” says Drugovich. “A lot of drivers have done the same or even less than you get the opportunity, or they had the opportunity in the past, and you don’t.” But it is what it is, and we can’t change it.

“And I think I just need to work as hard as I can to show that I can be there. And maybe one day I can be a proper year-round Formula 1 driver.”

Over the past few years, Drozovic has been seen as Brazil’s main hope of bringing the driver back to the Formula 1 grid.

Even that status may now be in question, with Formula 3 champion Gabriel Bortoletto joining McLaren’s young driver programme.

However, he still feels there is a lot of support from his compatriots.

“There’s pressure, but I think it’s good pressure. It’s nothing unpleasant. They just want someone there. And they see it on me. And I think that’s good. It was just good pressure, so I see that as a positive,” he says.

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