Aston Martin have signed newly crowned FIA Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich as a Formula 1 development driver for 2023 onwards.
Brazilian Drugovich clinched the F2 title at Monza on Saturday in the sprint race after nearest rival Theo Pourchaire failed to claim the necessary result to keep the title race alive.
The MP Motorsport driver has five wins this season, including in the feature race at Zandvoort which all but secured him the title.
However, the 2018 EuroFormula Open champion was not previously on the radar of any F1 teams despite the ongoing silly season about F1 seats.
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Contract signed on F2 title winning day
Drugovich, who signed his contract on Saturday after clinching the F2 title, will take over Lance Stroll's car in FP1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as well as enjoy an "extensive" testing programme in the 2021 car from next season.
“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," he said in a statement.
"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.”
Aston Martin boss Mike Krack lauded Dragovich's "incredible talent, determination and consistency" to win the F2 championship, executive chairman Lawrence Stroll said the team had "admired Felipe's path in Formula 2.
"I am hugely proud to have inaugurated the AMF1 Driver Development Programme: I am a big believer in rewarding young talent, and this is a fantastic way to help develop the next generation of racing drivers," he said.
We have watched and admired Felipe's path to success in Formula 2 this year, and we aim to provide him with all the skills and experience necessary to be able to take the next step in his career.
"In the fullness of time, it would be the ultimate validation if he were to become a Formula One driver, joining the great pantheon of Brazilian racing drivers such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna."
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