Aston Martin has announced that Felipe Drugovich will be on duty for day 1 of pre-season testing in Bahrain.
Lance Stroll’s preparation for the 2023 season with Aston Martin has been compromised following a ‘minor accident’ whilst training on a bicycle.
The Canadian driver suffered his accident in Spain just days before pre-season testing, forcing him to miss out on crucial time behind the wheel.
Aston Martin released a statement explaining Stroll’s status:
“Whilst pre-season training on a bicycle in Spain, Lance Stroll was involved in a minor accident and sustained injuries which will result in him sitting out the pre-season test in Bahrain.
“Lance is, however, expecting a quick recovery and return to driving duties. His fitness to return to the cockpit will be assessed daily, and the team will issue an update ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“The team wishes Lance a speedy recovery and looks forward to his usual energy and commitment within the team.”
Firstly, before delving further into this story, it must be stressed that the relatively low severity of Stroll’s incident is a relief.
Only two years ago, his teammate Fernando Alonso also found himself in a pre-season cycling incident – although in this case, it was slightly more severe.
The Spaniard was forced to race with titanium plates in his jaw for the 2021 season, in what can certainly be described as a sub-optimal start to his F1 comeback.
Returning to the current situation in 2023, Aston Martin has announced that Felipe Drugovich will drive the AMR23 on the Thursday morning session.
The Brazilian driver, who won Formula 2 in dominant fashion last season, will have the opportunity to fulfill his duties as a reserve and help contribute to the team’s round 1 preparations.
Aston Martin released a statement on this decision:
“UPDATE: @FelipeDrugovich will attend the Bahrain test to share driving duties with Fernando Alonso. Felipe is scheduled to drive AMR23 on Thursday morning, with Fernando taking over in the afternoon. Schedule for Friday and Saturday to be confirmed.”
Whilst this update is an important development, there are still questions about Aston Martin’s running order for the second and third days of testing.
The team could have announced Drugovich would share time in the AMR23 with Alonso for all three test days, so this announcement suggests the team is considering giving Alonso more running time on days 2 and 3.
Much of this will depend on Lance Stroll’s condition and whether Aston Martin feels he is likely to attend round 1 in Bahrain – therefore affecting the importance of Drugovich spending time behind the wheel.
In any case, Drugovich has been presented with a golden opportunity to get some valuable experience behind the 2023 Aston Martin F1 machine.