It was third time’s the charm for Felipe Drugovich as he took the Formula 2 Drivers’ Championship in domineering fashion. From his back-to-back wins in Barcelona to the moments on the pit wall watching his dream come true at Monza, the twists and turns of this year’s Championship battle made for a memorable season.
After he almost bowed out with a walk-off victory in Abu Dhabi, Drugovich was already gearing up for his future role for 2023. Before he got to that though, we sat down with the 2022 Champion and looked back at the stellar campaign from the MP Motorsport turned Aston Martin F1 Reserve Driver. Here is his F2 title-winning season in his words.
“I think that was the main focus for me as a driver from last year, I feel I needed to score points in as many races as possible. The main goal was to be consistent this year, I think we've really focused on that, and we managed to do that very well. That’s really what made the difference.
“After testing, we thought we were quite good heading into the first round but once we got there, we saw we were not still there yet. Even though the potential was to be on pole position, it wasn’t perfect, and I think things didn't fall into place, even though the pace was there. But when things didn’t fall into place, it was like kind of a kickstart for our year. We were asking ourselves, ‘what do we need to do more than this?’ Obviously, it helped but I think the performance has been always there anyway.
“We were a bit worried about a few tracks that the team didn't have any strong performance at last year. For example, Monaco and Baku, we were worried that those ones were going to be the ones that we didn't score points and maybe that wouldn’t give us the Championship. But after those race weekends where we saw that we not only scored points, but we won races there and we got a podium, I was like, ‘okay, this is looking good, so this might be the year.’
“I think it was around July and those couple of races before the summer break were the ones where I was a bit worried about because they were coming good. Théo and ART were getting faster, and they were getting stronger as a team as well, because Frederik was doing good as well, and we were not doing so good, things were getting worse. We were just getting a bit worse at some of the tracks, not fitting things together the way they should’ve been and then the summer break came at just about the right time for us.
“Then there was all the talk about Formula 1 as well. I had to use that as a motivation because, I've been all this time with not many people looking at me, trying to bring me into F1. People are already looking after me at Aston Martin and I feel good about it, but during the season I had to use it as motivation in the last rounds in F2.
“At MP, we managed to regroup and we studied a lot during that gap. We stayed in contact all through the break and trying to see everything we did wrong, trying to right them in the next races. It started a lot better in Spa in the next month. Once we had those things sorted, we thought ‘ok then yeah, now we can come into Spa in the right place,’ so, when we came back, I was in the right place mentally and the team improved a lot technically. In Spa I was on pole, then in Zandvoort it was pole again.
“I think that was really important for the season – the break. I went back to Brazil, tried to relax a little bit. I tried to get my mind out of it, focus on other things away from F2. And when I came back, I was very well mentally. So I think everything came into place from that point on.
“I think MP has probably been the best environment I've ever worked and been at in my life. The team has worked really well, and the people are happy, and they all help a lot because in F2 the team hadn’t won it before. So, there were kind of doubts in the beginning whether we would manage on it or not. But I think we managed to put it in all of our heads that it was possible and that it was only possible if there was a good environment and that everything was relaxed and everyone was working happy. In the end that’s what we did, and it won us both the Championships.”