Drugovich set to replace Stroll in opening practice in Monza

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Reigning FIA Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich will replace Aston Martin’s regular driver Lance Stroll in the opening practice session at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

Despite the alternative tyre allocation that will come into effect at Monza for the second time this season, Aston Martin decided to complete their first mandatory young-driver-running at the Italian Grand Prix. The rule that was introduced at the start of the 2022 F1 season requires every driver to hand over their car in one practice session during the season.

Drugovich who serves as the team’s Test & Reserve Driver, will participate in the 60-minute session at Autodromo Nazionale Monza: the circuit at which he secured his FIA Formula 2 title just 12 months ago.

The Silverstone-based outfit’s 2023 F1 car, the AMR23 will not be unknown as he stood in for Stroll during pre-season testing in Bahrain after the Canadian driver sustained a bicycle incident just days before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Commenting on the opportunity, the Brazilian driver said: “I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the AMR23. 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 programme. 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.

“I’d like to thank Aston Martin for trusting me with this opportunity, as well as our Brazilian partners XP, Porto Seguro and Banco Master for their continued support.”

Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack added: “We are delighted to be able to provide Felipe with another opportunity to drive the AMR23. 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 maximising this session together.”