They’re the double act that have taken social media by storm. MP Motorsport teammates Felipe Drugovich and Clément Novalak have been keeping fans entertained all season long. Let’s get to know the pair a little better.
From holidays to Brazil to an unusual career choice, the two delve into their relationship and it should come as no surprise, there’s no shortage of banter and jokes between them.
DESCRIBE YOUR TEAMMATE
Clément Novalak: He’s pretty good on the pedals, I’ll give him that. He’s a top bloke, a nice guy, pretty fast and very funny. He’s actually my Portuguese teacher as well. We’re just good mates.
Felipe Drugovich: I’ll pay you later for this! This guy is really cool, I think it’s been a very cool year working with him. We work together very well. He brought a nice energy into the team. The energy inside the team is great this year and I’ve not had many times when I’ve worked with someone who brings in a nice, funny environment, and he helps the team a lot.
WHAT’S YOUR TEAMMATE’S BEST QUALITY?
Drugovich: He’s got two – first of all, dressing up on Thursdays. It’s a shame you guys can’t see him now. Also, setting up my car as well.
Novalak: He’s an all-round man really, there’s too many things to pick from. He’s pretty good on the data, I have to give him that. He’s extremely quick and as a person he’s very calm. We’re sort of the ying and yang of the team. I’m the sort of loud annoying person sometimes, then he tends to be the cool, calm and collected one, so we make a good group really.
IF YOUR TEAMMATE WASN’T A DRIVER, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Drugovich: Maybe a broker/trader, like a really good one.
Novalak: I could see Felipe designing a swimwear line, I have a feeling you’d be particularly good at designing. Even better, I think he could design underwear – he could be the next Calvin Klein (laughs).
WHAT’S THEIR MOST ANNOYING HABIT?
Drugovich: I've got to think about this one because he’s got plenty.
Novalak: Same here.
Drugovich: In our drivers’ room, we have one bed for each driver. He brings a third one for no reason and puts it in the middle, which takes up all the space in the room.
Novalak: It’s just about having comfort and to be honest, extra beds so you can sleep in different places. Felipe’s annoying habit...
Drugovich: I’ve got none, I could go on more for you if you want (laughs).
Novalak: He likes to drive the simulator a lot and brings so much enthusiasm to it, which I do not have. It juxtaposes my disappointment and sometimes makes me feel a bit out of place and a bit angry because I’m just like ‘well he’s nailing it and enjoying it, whilst I’m having a long day’. Sometimes that enthusiasm can be a little bit annoying, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do as a driver.
WHO ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS ON THE GRID?
Drugovich: We shouldn’t answer, maybe we’ll miss out on someone (laughs).
Novalak: Exactly, we're going to miss out on someone, and somebody is going to feel really angry. I've got plenty of mates around the paddock to be honest. I just tend to think we're all in the same adventure, we're all trying to make it to Formula 1, we all live the same life, so we all share a lot. I wouldn't say I have someone in particular that I enjoy spending time with the most. Obviously, I’ve spent a lot of time with this bloke this year.
Novalak: It has been a pleasure. I enjoy the presence of everyone on the grid. I have huge respect for everyone here as well 'cause a lot of people have done a lot of sacrifices throughout their life to be here. It’s just good fun being around a good bunch of blokes.
WHO’S THE FUNNIEST?
Drugovich: Clem for sure. I try to be funny but he’s always going to be the funniest, so I have to give it to him.
Novalak: Felipe’s got a bit of sarcastic banter, so sometimes you’ve got to think about it a couple of times. Then you just look at his face and you know he’s taking the mick and he’s being sarcastic even though you thought he was being really serious. I think Felipe’s got good banter as well.
Drugovich: Yeah, but no one gets even close to you.
MOST EMBRASSING THING YOU’VE DONE WHILST BEING ON THE SAME TEAM?
Novalak: We were out in Bahrain for Practice and decided to do some pit stop practice at the end of the session. I thought it would be great to, obviously having done five or six laps on warm tyres we pitted, changed tyres. I was going to do a nice slow out lap and then go back into the pits to do another pit stop. I was surprised at the lack of grip coming out of the pit lane and managed to go like a skateboarder does when they put the board on a bar and just slide across, I sort of did the same thing with the car and the kerb.
Drugovich: It ripped the whole floor off the car (laughs).
Novalak: Felipe thought it was an absolutely magical video and he probably still has it on his phone. So, what’s your most embarrassing moment (turns to Felipe)?
Drugovich: Come on mate, help me out.
Novalak: Well, you’ve done pretty good on track this year.
Drugovich: I’m starting to think I’m really boring because I have no embarrassing moments.
Novalak: Have you had any embarrassing moments on track?
Drugovich: The most embarrassing one I can think of is back in Bahrain when we were doing the tests, I had a lot of traction problems. As people probably don’t know, we have a specific throttle map for the start, and I was using the wrong one.
Novalak: That’s not embarrassing, that’s just pure stupidity.
Drugovich: It’s embarrassing for me with the engineers because I was saying the traction is very poor and at the end, I had the truth.
Novalak: You came into the pitlane and realised the fact that you were on 100% power all the time?
Drugovich: Basically, I was not able to modulate the throttle as I wanted because of the map. That might be one, but it’s not funny enough.
IF YOU HAD TO COOK A MEAL FOR EACH OTHER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Novalak: I can’t cook! I’d take him to a nice Churrascaria (steakhouse) and get some picanha from Brazil.
Drugovich: That would be great. I can’t cook this dish but if I could, I would probably make him a foie gras (duck or goose liver), which he loves, and I hate.
Novalak: Foie gras is good man. Oysters! The French delicacies are something inspired. I mean frogs legs, we just picked out a weird animal and decided to think that could be quite good, I’m a big fan.
WHO KNOWS THE MOST ABOUT CARS?
Novalak: HIM! I give pretty good feedback, but knowing cars, setups and brands it’s him. We were sat at dinner once after a beautiful day at the sim and he heard an engine in the background. I’m looking at the car and he can’t actually see it on the road, he managed to turn around and tell me ‘oh yeah, that’s a Porsche 911 GT3’. I looked at him and said ‘how?’
WHO’S ON THEIR PHONE THE MOST AND WHO TAKES THE LONGEST TO REPLY TO MESSAGES?
Novalak: Ooh, I’m not really on my phone often apart from when the day’s boring.
Drugovich: Yes, you are.
Novalak: I think both of us are about the same really.
Drugovich: Me, for sure me. He literally takes like two minutes, at least for me.
Novalak: I’m just a very organised person you see. My texts are so important it’s like emails, so I’m constantly on the grind and professional.
Drugovich: Sorry to all the people reading this, if I take two days to reply it’s still okay.
Novalak: Yeah, Felipe’s a bit of a ghoster actually, so don’t be stressed (laughs).
HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM RACING?
Drugovich: If I could, I would go to Brazil and chill there with my family. Also, maybe go to the coast by the sea. Otherwise, when I go back to Italy, I like to go by the lake and stay there chilling with friends.
Novalak: I’ve become a bit of a tennis fan over these last few months, so I like to play a bit of tennis when I’m at home. Apart from that, obviously Felipe told everyone about me potentially being a broker, I’m very interested in the financial markets, which is something that is a bit different to most drivers. I spend a lot of time reading and relaxing that way.
WHAT’S TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Drugovich: Be an F1 Champion.
Novalak: Jeez bro, that’s like everybody’s (laughs). Couldn’t you have picked something a bit more different?
Drugovich: Depends how much you want it.
Novalak: Of course, it would be up there too, but I’m going to go out my way here and say I’d like to go to Fiji. Owning an island in Fiji would be pretty cool. I need to buy a good island, a big one and then build myself a house. I wouldn’t ask someone else to build it, I’d build it myself. You could have a house there as well Felipe, we could be neighbours.
Drugovich: If you just leave me a space.
Novalak: You’d have to build the house yourself. I won’t build it for you!
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST THING YOU’VE LEARNT FROM EACH OTHER?
Drugovich: Getting the energy from him is quite nice. As we said before, we’re like the ying and yang, sometimes even getting too pumped up.
Novalak: I like to pump it up before the race. When we put the tunes on and got the bangers going when we’re getting ready to go on track, I think I give him that energy to go out there and make the result. On my end, he’s taught me a lot of Portuguese. Most of it has been bad words, which obviously I’m not going to repeat here. I’m looking forward to hopefully going on holiday there in January. Hopefully, Felipe will be there, I know Caio (Collet) in F3 will 100% be there.
Drugovich: He’s been telling me about this vacation for the whole year and if he doesn’t come, it’s gonna be bad for him.
Novalak: I’m 100% there and I hope that the hours I’ve spent practising and learning the Portuguese language are going to come in handy.
ONE THING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO TELL YOUR TEAMMATE?
Novalak: Slow down mate (laughs), don’t say anything about my shoes.
Drugovich: I can put it in another way – stop being so fancy mate.
Novalak: Well, it’s not fancy.
Drugovich: If you were like a businessman at the track maybe you’d fit, but not even just the clothes, everything! Got that off my chest.
Novalak: You’ve just set me back here mate. I’m extremely self-conscious now about my current attire (laughs). You definitely need to change shoes, we’re not at a skateboarding competition. Well, actually these are alright but the usual Nikes you wear are a bit too big. Just go for a slim shoe, kind of like a racing style. I think I could give you a couple of pointers on your style, I like the fact you’re wearing a shirt today though, very smart.
WHO WOULD WIN IN AN ARM WRESTLE?
Drugovich: Probably him, I think.
Novalak: Felipe knows! We went to the gym the other day and he saw the gun show (laughs).
Drugovich: Actually, we were taking basically the same weights but probably him. I think I have just enough muscle to be okay driving the cars and that’s it, I’m completely fine with that.