Felipe Drugovich has revealed how he and Aston Martin thought their simulator might be wrong as it hinted at the gains they were going to make for 2023.
The Silverstone-based team have been one of the stories of the season so far with them climbing the pecking order in impressive style, becoming a front-running outfit alongside Ferrari and Mercedes as they all bid to try and close the gap to Red Bull.
Indeed, it’s the sort of jump that you very rarely see in F1 and is testament to the incredible amount of work they have put in as they look to become championship contenders in the short to medium term.
For Drugovich, the progress has been something he has been monitoring and aware of for some time, with him part of their driver programme last year and able to work on the simulator as they prepared their 2023 car.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, he revealed his and the team’s surprise when the numbers started coming in from the simulator about just how much of a step forwards they were looking set to make:
“I’ve been in the simulator since [last] September, and I saw the improvements made on the car.
“On the simulator, you’re never really sure [how right it is.] It’s a funny story. We were seeing the gains we made for this year with my lap time and I was like ‘hmm it’s probably quite wrong!’ It was showing a couple of seconds quicker for Bahrain so it was pretty impressive.
“It’s good to see that but seeing the effort the team put into it, I wasn’t surprised we’ve improved, just by how much. I knew that the team was going to improve because everything was leaning towards that but the models [on the level of improvement] were quite a surprise. It’s nice to see that.”
Certainly, it’s been a fine season so far for Aston and they have been spearheaded by Fernando Alonso, who has earned four podiums from the first five races.
Drugovich has been struck by just how much work the Spaniard does, too, especially out of the car:
“He’s a master in what he’s doing and it’s quite special to see all he’s able to do and on and off track, especially off track – he’s better than you’d even expect.
“He’s really good in the debriefs and he’s always paying attention to every single detail, so it’s really nice to learn from that. It’s an honour to work with him and hopefully, in the future, I can drive against him.”
Look out for more of our exclusive chat with Felipe Drugovich in the coming days!