Aston Martin reserve driver Felipe Drugovich will contest the opening practice session at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
Drugovich clinched the Formula 2 title at Monza last year and joined Aston Martin as its test and reserve driver in the aftermath of his championship triumph.
Drugovich drove in pre-season testing in Bahrain earlier this year, in the wake of Lance Stroll sustaining wrist fractures, and was on standby if the Canadian was unable to race.
The 23-year-old, who drove in practice at last year’s Abu Dhabi finale, will replace Stroll in the AMR23 for the opening one-hour session on Friday.
“I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the AMR23,” said Drugovich. “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.”
Drugovich has had time in Aston Martin’s 2021-spec AMR21 through the course of the year, testing at Silverstone, Barcelona and the Red Bull Ring.
“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for me to demonstrate what I’ve learnt through my testing programme,” he said.
“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.”
Stroll will return to the AMR23 from the second practice session onwards.
Per Formula 1 regulations each driver must sit out one practice session for a rookie through the course of the season.
Ferrari’s Robert Shwartzman replaced Carlos Sainz in FP1 at Zandvoort while McLaren, AlphaTauri and Williams have each ticked one of two boxes on account of rookies Oscar Piastri, Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant respectively in Bahrain.