Lance Stroll will watch on from the garage as Aston Martin reserve driver Felipe Drugovich drives his AMR23 during the Italian Grand Prix FP1.
Since last year, teams have been required to run a driver who raced in two or fewer grands prix during two practice sessions in order to allow some added development time for the next generation.
Aston Martin have yet to confirm either of their sessions but will do so now for the first time this weekend as Drugovich borrows Stroll’s car for FP1 at the circuit where he won his F2 title.
The 2022 F2 champion said: “I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the AMR23. The car felt great when I drove it in pre-season testing and it will be fascinating to feel how it has improved since then. I’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator helping to develop the car, so understanding how that correlates to the real thing will be super valuable for me too.
“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for me to demonstrate what I’ve learnt through my testing programme.
“Since Bahrain I’ve done many more miles in an F1 car so I have an even better understanding of how I can deliver valuable feedback for the team. I’d like to thank Aston Martin for trusting me with this opportunity.
It is not the first time Drugovich has stepped in for Stroll as the Brazilian was called into replace the Canadian during pre-season testing after Stroll injured his wrists during a cycling crash.
Drugovich is sharing reserve driver duties with Stoffel Vandoorne this season but the Belgian would not count as a rookie test due to his 42 races with McLaren.
Aston Martin said the test was part of Drugovich’s bespoke development programme which is “designed to equip Felipe with the necessary skills and experience to compete at the highest level of motorsport, aiding his continuous development as a driver.”
“We are delighted to be able to provide Felipe with another opportunity to drive the AMR23,” team boss Mike Krack said. “He demonstrated his capabilities in pre-season testing, with a vital contribution to the team’s initial development of the car. Monza will offer another chance for Felipe to work closely with the engineers and mechanics and build his confidence in a critical session for the team. We look forward to maximising this session together.”
Plenty of teams have still yet to run a rookie including Red Bull, Alpine, Haas and Alfa Romeo. AlphaTauri will become the first team to complete the requirement this weekend when Liam Lawson takes part in FP1. Nyck de Vries counted as their first session in the opening race of the year.