Although the team has not confirmed anything, after Drugovich won the F2 championship this Saturday at Monza, an important step forward was taken for the agreement.
That officially guaranteed him the super license for 2023 and also ensured that he could play a free practice session 1 at the Abu Dhabi GP without being distracted from the fight for the Formula 2 title.
Last Friday at Monza, Aston Martin used one of the two FP1 sessions it has to give a rookie with Nyck de Vries , but has yet to do it one more time before the end of the season with a driver yet to be confirmed.
The idea was to do it with Drugovich in his local grand prix, in Brazil , but that will be a sprint weekend in which classification comes directly after FP1, so fielding a substitute would reduce the chances of the starters. Therefore, the team has provisionally booked the Abu Dhabi GP that will close the season.
Drugovich continues to aspire to get a starting seat in the teams that have not yet confirmed their line-ups, Haas, Alpine and Williams, and his agreement as a substitute for Aston Martin will not be made official until all the places are covered and all the doors closed.
In order to compete in an FP1 this year, he has to obtain the so-called Friday super license, which will force him to travel 300 km with a contemporary car in private tests.
The Silverstone outfit has an AMR21 from last season in operation, which will be driven in October as a reward by Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award winner Zak O’Sullivan . In theory, the team could put the Drugovich on the track that same day.
Team principal Mike Krack confirmed that Aston Martin is in contact with Drugovich, although he denied that any deal has been done so far.
“Now we have Fernando [Alonso] and we were already a little bit out of the driver market,” he said. “And we are looking at what we are going to do for next year, because we need a reserve driver. So as soon as we have something to communicate, we will do it.”
“We have to say that Drugovich won the F2 championship in an impressive way, being very consistent, very smart. So I think that obviously makes him a candidate for many.”
“And I think it would be wise to have him on the radar as well, because he’s not tied to any academy or any pilot program or anything like that.”
Drugovich stressed that his priority is to secure a starting seat, but indicated that a reserve driver role would be the next best thing.
“The aim is to be there,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com if a substitute role was the best alternative if there is no place on the grid.
“We’re trying, but if it’s not possible I’d be totally happy to be in the reserve role.”
“Now we have a long break, so we are going to try to talk to the teams, and see what the best options are. I would love to play in FP1.”