Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich has had an incredibly consistent season without any connections to F1. So what’s the future for this bright young star?
Once again, we have a strong contender for the Formula 2 Championship with no clear future in Formula 1. Whilst the previous two victors in F2 had academy connections and just fell unlucky to the system, Felipe Drugovich is ready to score the championship with no F1 tests or team connections.
Drugovich has nearly completed the most consistent season of his F2 career, having only missed out on scoring points in both races during two rounds this year, Monaco and Austria. Drugovich’s closest title contender is Theo Pourchaire, who, with only two rounds to go, sits 69 points behind him. In short, if Drugovich has another flawless weekend and Pourchaire’s luck continues to fade, the title could be his in Monza.
This season has been another one where Theo Pourchaire is rumored to be lined up for an F1 seat with Sauber, having been a part of their academy since 2019 when competing in ADAC F4. However, the F1 rumors for the current championship leader are essentially non-existent.
At the start of the season, you would have thought someone leading the championship like Drugovich would have at least tested in F1, especially with the new FP1 rules for the teams. Still, the closer the title gets, there seems to be no rush or mention of whether the young Brazilian is looking at a seat.
If he finishes the job and takes the title, he can no longer compete in F2. But with no F1 opportunities lined up, has he been looking elsewhere under the radar?
As with many others, Felipe’s career has been Formula focused, meaning he has little to no experience in other series and styles of racing. All previous F2-era champions have graduated to Formula 1 either as full-time drivers or reserves, meaning this situation Drugovich finds himself in is non-comparable.
In recent days, amid the sticky situation the Alpine team has found themselves in, Drugovich’s name has finally entered the bowl of drivers that the team may choose from to replace Fernando Alonso. There have been no previous connections between the Brazilian driver and the team as Jack Doohan, who is currently their highest ranking junior driver, also has his name in the mix to take the seat.
Whilst the Alpine seat seems the most available and feasible option for Felipe, his lack of ties to any leading motorsport series makes his next steps difficult.
Some drivers have sponsorship and mentorship to help them move to the next stage of their careers. Still, Drugovich, alongside others, gains most of his support through family-owned businesses. The benefit of his sponsorship coming from family and not being tied to any driver academies is that he is more of a free agent when looking at his next steps in motorsport.
However, given that the driver market is currently very full, with a lot of young drivers missing out on seats, he is likely to be overlooked compared to a driver that is tied to that team’s academy.
Speaking to Autosport earlier this year, Drugovich made it clear that he understood that his opportunities in F1 were minimal. While there were other options, such as IndyCar, his complete focus was still on F1.
Whilst Drugovich may have initially shut down the idea of IndyCar to continue his focus on F1 if the Brazilian wishes to continue racing, IndyCar is probably the most likely route.
So whether we see Drugovich take the championship at Monza or the final round in Abu Dhabi, what’s next for him?
Drugovich made clear his hopes for F1 lie in reserve driver roles. But the silence surrounding his name in the F1 paddock doesn’t give any idea where Felipe Drugovich will spend his 2023 season.
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