Newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich has joined Aston Martin as a reserve driver and the first member of its young driver development programme.
Drugovich wrapped up the F2 title at Monza on Saturday with three races remaining, putting him on the radar for a possible role with an F1 team for next year amid links to Aston Martin.
Aston Martin announced on Monday that Drugovich had joined its young driver programme, and that he would make his FP1 debut at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Drugovich is also set for an extensive testing programme as part of the role that will see him take part in the post-season running in Abu Dhabi, as well as getting track time in a 2021 car through next year. He will also attend select races supporting 2023 drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.
"Becoming a member of the AMF1 Driver Development Programme is a fantastic opportunity for me, and only adds to what has been an extremely enjoyable and successful 2022 season," said Drugovich.
"Winning in Formula 2 has long been regarded as the best possible launchpad into a career in Formula One, and I see my role at AMF1 as giving me all the tools to take that crucial next step.
"For me, 2023 will be a learning curve: I will be working with the F1 team, but my primary goal is to learn and develop as a driver. I hope that will give me an opportunity to race in Formula 1 in the future."
Drugovich joins the pool of reserve drivers available to Aston Martin in F1 that also includes Nico Hulkenberg, who deputised for Sebastian Vettel at the first two races of the 2022 season. Hulkenberg is understood to be in contention for a racing comeback with Haas next year.
"Felipe has shown incredible talent, determination, and consistency to win this year's FIA Formula 2 Championship," said Aston Martin F1 team principal Mike Krack.
"I particularly remember his fantastic sprint and feature victories at Barcelona in May, which were hugely impressive.
"We are delighted that he is joining us as a member of our Driver Development Programme, and we look forward to welcoming him as part of our team in Abu Dhabi this November."
Aston Martin executive chairman Lawrence Stroll felt the establishment of the young driver programme was "a fantastic way to help develop the next generation of racing drivers."
"We have watched and admired Felipe's path to success in Formula 2 this year, and we aim to provide him with all the skills and experience necessary to be able to take the next step in his career," added Stroll.
"In the fullness of time, it would be the ultimate validation if he were to become a Formula 1 driver, joining the great pantheon of Brazilian racing drivers such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna."