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How Drugovich won a historic F2 title




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By early 2022, most individuals would have predicted that Theo Pourchaire would win the title formulation 2. An extended-time member of the Sauber Academy, the Frenchman was getting ready for his second season at ART, ending fifth in his rookie season and turning into the youngest ever F2 race winner.

But these folks did not take into consideration a Brazilian underdog who had lengthy proven flashes of brilliance. Although named by few Felipe Drugovich As the inheritor to the crown of Oscar Piastri, the pilot MP MotorsportEntering his third season within the class, he has all the time proven a robust tempo.

With three wins and eight podiums in his first two seasons, Drugovich has quietly improved with the group regardless of a disappointing 2021 season. virtuosothe place he didn’t win a single victory and completed eighth general.

It was his return to MP that proved to be a key issue, though he by no means completed greater than sixth within the group championship within the trendy period of F2. Something occurred between the group and the driving force and together with his Virtuosi marketing campaign disappointing, they lastly got here collectively within the hope of profitable the title, with Drugovich’s engineer telling him on the finish of 2021 that was his solely objective.

They managed to win, spectacularly. Drugovich scored 5 extra wins and 4 extra podiums in an thrilling season in an thrilling year-long battle with Pourchaire. The pair swapped the lead a number of instances within the early levels, however profitable each races in Barcelona, ​​whereas Pourchaire had simply eight factors, gave Drugovich a 26-point lead.

The lead was 39 after the French spherical, and a robust exhibiting Zandvoort, the place Pourchair won the qualifying, the hole elevated to 69 factors. From then on, Drugovich was unstoppable.

Pourchaire was firmly within the title race in the beginning of the season earlier than inconsistency set in.

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Watching the pitlane race monza Having to retire within the dash race, Drugovich noticed his rival’s fortunes take a flip for the more serious as Pourchaire completed final after contact and a penalty, which was sufficient to seal the title with three races to go. finish of season

Sitting within the Monza convention room on Saturday, draped in a Brazilian flag, the affect of Drugovich’s victory had but to be absorbed. Although profitable the title wasn’t what he anticipated, it wasn’t all that particular due to the circumstances.

“I believe it takes a while to grasp, till you understand that you simply actually are a champion,” he advised reporters.

“When you begin, you all the time dream of being in F1, however then you definitely understand how tough it’s to be an F2 champion, that is all you are able to do to realize that dream, and all of the sudden it turns into a dream. be. F2 co-champion.

Of course, you begin fascinated by the event very early. You attempt to not, however while you understand you’ll be able to really do it, it is one thing particular. I believe Spa was round once I received a begin once more, so I assumed it was actually doable.” Felipe Drugovich

“I dreamed of this second since I used to be a baby. It’s an unreal feeling to be right here.

“It was positively not what I anticipated. At first I used to be a little nervous as a result of Theo was transferring up a few positions. In the top we discovered that it was very tough to boost the grill and the sensation was like I used to be within the automobile.

“It’s simply one thing unreal and I believe I’m going to actually take pleasure in it for a very long time.”

Drugovich said he didn't want to think too much about the title early in the tournament.

Drugovich stated he did not need to suppose an excessive amount of in regards to the title early within the event.

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Repeatedly, Drugovich, like many drivers, advised reporters that he was not fascinated by the title. But Spa started to see his choices.

The begin of the triple-header after the summer season break marked the ultimate cost on the finish of the season, and the 22-year-old stepped up, choosing up 25 factors to Pourchaire’s simply three. A cushty pole place noticed him lead the pack within the race and, regardless of ending second behind Jack Doohan, Drugovich prolonged his lead within the standings.

“Obviously, you begin fascinated by that very early within the event,” he stated. “You attempt to not do it, however I believe while you actually understand that you are able to do it, it is one thing particular.

“I believe it was at Spa once I received the sting once more and noticed that we got here again very well from the summer season break. So I assumed it was actually doable.

“At the top of the event, on the eleventh day, virtually, I believe that is once I actually began to consider it.”

Drugovich credit his group and the ambiance for a lot of his success, saying he “cherished it, in all probability the very best 12 months I’ve had.”

The Brazilian paid tribute to the climate in the MP Motorsport team

The Brazilian paid tribute to the local weather within the MP Motorsport group

Photo: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Led by Sander Dorsman, the Dutch group has been very profitable in Spanish F4, profitable 5 of the final six titles, and has additionally achieved good leads to the Formula Renault Eurocup in recent times. But that is the group’s greatest consequence up to now, and Drugovich says the group’s dedication was essential.

“I believe they helped me a lot by being very dedicated this 12 months,” he stated. “I believe they actually took it very critically, clearly, however with a lot of ardour, and that is one thing I actually admire.

“I used to be a bit robust throughout tough instances. I needed to win on a regular basis and due to that I misplaced a lot of factors and I believe that actually helped me to be prepared now. A very totally different pilot and I really feel significantly better.’ Felipe Drugovich

“I believe they had been actually targeted on getting that title, one of many issues my engineer stated to me on the finish of final 12 months is should you come to me, we now have to do one factor and that is to win the championship and that is it, that is it. nothing extra I believe I actually helped them win.

“My expertise final 12 months additionally helped them enhance the automobile and be constant, I believe one thing we actually missed in 2020 was being constant and we pushed to be constant. If you do a follow session and understand you are not robust on that observe, you need to do one thing, something, to be quick in qualifying and save the weekend. That’s what we did this 12 months.”

Although he has obtained the driving force’s title, the F2 group championship desk continues to be open, and his group says “all that’s left to do is transfer ahead”. For my half, I’ve nothing extra to lose, however I’ve to consider the group and produce residence the factors, as a result of they deserve it too.’

After a complicated 2021 campaign with Virtuosi, Drugovich did not expect to return to F2 this year.

After a sophisticated 2021 marketing campaign with Virtuosi, Drugovich didn’t count on to return to F2 this 12 months.

Photo: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Drugovich has overtly admitted that staying in F2 was not in his plans for 2022, however now says that staying put was the very best resolution of his profession to this point. Also, final 12 months “he wasn’t fairly prepared, particularly mentally.”

He added: “I believe I struggled a bit within the tough moments. I needed to win on a regular basis and due to that I misplaced a lot of factors and I believe that actually helped me to be prepared now. I really feel like a utterly totally different driver and significantly better.”

Drugovich can be his nation’s first F2 champion since Bruno Junqueira won F3000 in 2000, and says that “a lot of persons are cheering, particularly as a result of there aren’t any Brazilians in F1.

“I’m the primary one they select and it’s particular to work for them. They miss somebody in F1 and I hope someday I could be there to symbolize the nation.’

That dream appears a little nearer to actuality as Drugovich was named the primary member of Aston Martin’s driver improvement program lower than 48 hours after sealing the title. He would be the group’s reserve driver for 2023 and is predicted to make his first Formula 1 look in FP1 on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

While the dearth of a spot for a worthy contender could seem disappointing, Drugovich nonetheless has no less than one foot within the door to attaining his greatest dream.

Drugovich is a new Aston Martin F1 reserve

Drugovich is a new Aston Martin F1 reserve

Photo: Aston Martin

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