How Aston Martin thought their simulator was wrong upon seeing F1 2023 gains

Michelle Foster
Felipe Drugovich testing the Aston Martin AMR23 in Bahrain. Bahrain February 2023

Reserve driver Felipe Drugovich testing the Aston Martin AMR23 in Bahrain. Bahrain February 2023

Such were Aston Martin’s gains while testing this year’s AMR23 in the simulator that Felipe Drugovich thought the numbers were “wrong”.

They weren’t with Aston Martin emerging as the second fastest team on the 2023 grid.

Last season Aston Martin gambled on their AMR22 as the team put out a B-spec car at the Spanish Grand Prix. Dubbed the ‘green Red Bull’ given its similarities to the Red Bull RB18, Aston Martin scored points in all but three races with the revised car.

Continuing with that concept with this season’s AMR23, the team has made the leap from seventh in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship to second this year with Fernando Alonso scoring four podium results in five races.

Their progress came as a surprise to many with Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff declaring his team’s engine customer had “gained two seconds in half a year”.

Even Aston Martin were shocked by their progress with reserve driver Drugovich revealing he thought the numbers were wrong when he first tested the 2023 car in the simulator.

“I’ve been in the simulator since [last] September, and I saw the improvements made on the car,” he told GIVEMESPORT.

“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. recommends

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“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.”

With an eye on stepping up into a Formula 1 race seat next season, or at least in 2025, this year the 2022 Formula 2 champion has the opportunity to learn from one of Formula 1’s best-ever – Alonso.

It’s an opportunity that Drugovich is relishing with the Brazilian saying it is “quite special” to watch Alonso in action, both on and off the track.

“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 said.

“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.”