Drugovich will race for Aston Martin if Stroll isn’t fit
By Mat Coch
Sunday 26th February, 2023 - 11:26pm
Aston Martin has confirmed that reserve driver Felipe Drugovich will be called into action for the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix if Lance Stroll is not fit.
Stroll has been the subject of intense paddock speculation following news he would miss Formula 1 pre-season testing after injuring his hands and wrist.
Aston Martin offered no official statement on the Canadian’s condition with paddock speculation claiming he’s suffered a broken wrist.
Drugovich was called into action in his place on the opening day in Bahrain testing and had a second outing on Saturday morning in support of Fernando Alonso.
With Stroll thought to be unlikely for this weekend’s race, the outings were seen as a way for Aston Martin to bring Drugovich up to speed for the season opener.
That has now seemingly been confirmed, with the team stating last year’s Formula 2 champion will indeed get the nod if needed.
“The team will continue to give Lance every chance to race, pending recovery from his injury,” the team said.
“Should he not be fit to compete, then Felipe will drive the AMR23 alongside Fernando.”
Aston Martin has both Drugovich and Stoffel Vandoorne on call as reserve drivers.
Vandoorne, who has raced in F1 before with McLaren, was in action in Formula E last weekend and therefore unavailable for pre-season testing.
There were suggestions other drivers were also in the frame, including Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher or a cameo for Sebastian Vettel.
The latter was not especially robustly denied when put to Aston Martin boss Mike Krack on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile Schumacher, who raced for Haas this year, was in Bahrain during testing for his new team, though did not drive the W14.
Aston Martin has a deep relationship with Mercedes.
That however won’t be the case with Drugovich now expected to be confirmed as Alonso’s team-mate for the opening round of the year.
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