Ex-Ferrari and Williams team manager Peter Windsor has urged Formula 1 owners Liberty Media to “get more behind” Aston Martin reserve driver Felipe Drugovich, who he views as a “serious” talent.
Drugovich has been Aston Martin’s reserve driver since he won the Formula 2 title in 2022 and will continue in the role next season.
There is no hiding the fact that he’s more than good enough, and fast enough, to be on the grid, something he’s proved at every opportunity Aston Martin have given him.
He actually completed the entire pre-season test ahead of the 2023 season for Aston Martin, as Lance Stroll was ruled out through injury.
At one point, it was looking like Drugovich would even race at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as Stroll’s participating was still a huge doubt.
Ultimately, Stroll did race in the season-opener, leaving Drugovich on the bench.
He has at least participated in two Free Practice 1 sessions this year, as well as in the post-season young drivers’ test at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.
Despite having sat on the bench throughout 2023, his performance in FP1 at the season finale was extraordinary, as he was faster than Stroll.
Drugovich ended FP1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in second spot and over two-tenths of a second quicker than Stroll.
This won’t have pleased Stroll’s father, Lawrence Stroll, who is the owner of the Aston Martin squad.
For the reserve driver to be quicker than one of the first-team drivers is a real problem and highlights just how good Drugovich is.
As a result, Windsor is surprised that Liberty Media haven’t tried to get Drugovich onto the grid, especially as F1 has been without a Brazilian driver since Felipe Massa retired in 2017.
“As I’ve been saying for a long time now, Felipe Drugovich is the serious business,” said Windsor on his YouTube channel.
“I’m surprised to be honest that Aston Martin gave him such a good run, first of all on the mediums and then the softs, which is basically what Lance Stroll did and he was as quick as Stroll on the mediums and quicker on the softs.
“So, that’s probably all we’re ever going to hear of Felipe Drugovich, because the point I’ve been making from day one, even though he’s paying quite a lot of money to Aston Martin for the privilege of being in this position, is that it will be incredibly annoying for the Stroll family to have this young guy coming in and showing up Lance.
“So, what his future is there, I have no idea. I suppose if Fernando Alonso doesn’t race in 2025, looking ahead a long way, maybe he’s in the running, but even then they’re not going to want a young guy coming in and blowing away Lance, blowing away the son of the owner of the team.
“I think it’s a sad indictment actually of Formula 1 that none of the top teams saw the talent in Drugovich and put him under contract and that he was obliged really to take the only deal out there, which was to buy this position with Aston Martin, which is not right, I mean, this guy has a serious amount of talent.
“And we need a Brazilian in Formula 1 as well. I’m surprised Liberty didn’t get more behind it.”