Aston Martin sign F2 champion Drugovich to young driver programme

By Sports Desk September 12, 2022

Aston Martin have signed F2 champion Felipe Drugovich as the first addition to their young driver programme.

The 22-year-old Brazilian won five races to clinch the F2 championship in 2022, where he was crowned winner in Monza, and signed his contract with the team on the same day.

Drugovich will take a spot as one of the team's reserve drivers in 2023, with Aston Martin planning for him to be involved in FP1 in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season as well as taking part in November's young driver test at the Yas Marina Circuit.

"Becoming a member of the AMF1 Driver Development Programme is a fantastic opportunity for me – and only adds to what has been an extremely enjoyable and successful 2022 season," Drugovich said.

"Winning in Formula 2 has long been regarded as the best possible launchpad into a career in Formula One, and I see my role at AMF1 as giving me all the tools to take that crucial next step.

"For me, 2023 will be a learning curve: I will be working with the F1 team, but my primary goal is to learn and develop as a driver. I hope that will give me an opportunity to race in Formula One in the future."

Drugovich's position with Aston Martin for 2023 effectively rules him out of the running for any vacancies on the grid, with a number of teams still yet to finalise their two drivers for next season.

Aston Martin may view Drugovich as the ideal successor to Fernando Alonso, who joins the team from Alpine for 2023 on a multi-year deal.

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    Team principal Christian Horner is expected to be on Red Bull’s pit wall for practice in Bahrain on Thursday after he was cleared of “inappropriate behaviour” towards a female colleague.

    Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH announced on February 5 that Horner was under investigation following an accusation made against him by a female colleague.

    Horner emphatically denied the claim and the 50-year-old – who arrived in Bahrain on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s opening race of the season – has been cleared of wrongdoing.

    Red Bull GmbH said it was confident the investigation had been “fair, rigorous and impartial”, but added that the report – understood to stretch to 150 pages – is “confidential”.

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had called for the investigation to be conducted with transparency but no details of the allegations against Horner were reported.

    Horner has made no public comment. The complainant also has a right to appeal against the verdict.

    A statement from Red Bull GmbH read: “The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed.

    “The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.

    “The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

    Horner, who has protested his innocence throughout, was questioned by a lawyer for eight hours earlier this month at a secret London location.

    During the internal probe, he continued to be present for official Red Bull activities – including a car launch in Milton Keynes earlier this month, where he insisted it was “business as usual”, and pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

    Horner flew back to England as he awaited his fate before heading back to the Gulf kingdom on a private jet on Wednesday.

    Horner has been Red Bull team principal since they entered F1 19 years ago and is the longest-serving boss on the grid.

    He has overseen seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles.

    Red Bull have dominated the sport in recent seasons and last year won 21 of the 22 races with Dutch driver Max Verstappen setting a new record for 10 consecutive victories as he wrapped up his third title.

    Horner, who is married to former Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell, was awarded a CBE for his services to motorsport in the New Year Honours.

  • Red Bull team principal Christian Horner cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ Red Bull team principal Christian Horner cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’

    Christian Horner will continue as team principal of the Red Bull Formula One team after he was cleared of “inappropriate behaviour”.

    Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH announced on February 5 that Horner was under investigation following an accusation made against him by a female colleague.

    Horner emphatically denied the claim, and the 50-year-old – who arrived in Bahrain on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s opening race of the season – has been cleared of wrongdoing.

    Red Bull GmbH said it was confident the investigation had been “fair, rigorous and impartial”, but added that the report – understood to stretch to 150 pages – is “confidential”.

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had called for the investigation to be conducted with transparency – but no details of the allegations against Horner were reported.

    Horner has made no public comment. He is expected to be on Red Bull’s pit-wall in Bahrain for practice on Thursday. The complainant also has a right to appeal the verdict.

    A statement from Red Bull GmbH read: “The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed.

    “The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.

    “The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

    Horner, who has protested his innocence throughout, was questioned by a lawyer for eight hours earlier this month at a secret London location.

    During the internal probe, he continued to be present for official Red Bull activities – including a car launch in Milton Keynes earlier this month – where he insisted it was “business as usual” – and also pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

    Horner flew back to England as he awaited his fate before heading back to the Gulf kingdom on a private jet on Wednesday.

    Horner has been Red Bull team principal since they entered F1 19 years ago and is the longest-serving boss on the grid.

    He has overseen seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles.

    Red Bull have dominated the sport in recent seasons and last year won 21 of the 22 races – with Dutch driver Max Verstappen setting a new record for 10 consecutive victories as he wrapped up his third title.

    Addressing the controversy surrounding Horner, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said earlier on Wednesday: “We always have to do more to try to make the sport and the environment for people to work in feel safe and inclusive.

    “Any allegations have to be taken very seriously. We don’t know everything that has gone on but it needs to be resolved because it is hanging over the sport.

    “It will be interesting to see how it is dealt with, and the effect that it may or may not have on the sport moving forward. It is a really important moment for the sport to make sure that we stand true to our values.”

    Horner, who is married to former Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell, was awarded a CBE for his services to motorsport in the New Year Honours list.

    Verstappen said before Horner had been cleared of any wrongdoing: “He is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time.

    “Everyone is focused on what happens on track and we are in a good mood to get going again.”

  • The key questions after Christian Horner is cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ The key questions after Christian Horner is cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’

    Christian Horner will continue as team principal of the Red Bull Formula One team after he was cleared of “inappropriate behaviour”.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at the key questions surrounding the controversy which has rocked Horner, Red Bull, and the sport.

    What were the accusations against Horner?

    On February 5, Red Bull Racing’s parent company GmbH confirmed Horner was under investigation following an accusation of “inappropriate behaviour”. The company said it “takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible”.

    Horner denied the claim – made by a female colleague – and remained as team principal and CEO of the Milton Keynes-based team. It is understood the complainant also continued in her role.

    How did Red Bull react?

    Horner was questioned by a lawyer for eight hours at a secret London location. There was no immediate resolution and Horner subsequently appeared at Red Bull’s car launch on February 15.

    He continued to dismiss the allegations. Horner then headed to Bahrain for last week’s three-day test before returning to England, while Red Bull’s Austrian board met to discuss his future.

    What was the verdict?

    On the eve of this weekend’s curtain raiser – and 23 days after it emerged Horner was under investigation – Red Bull GmBH said the grievance against the 50-year old had been dismissed.

    The corporation said it was confident the investigation had been “fair, rigorous and impartial” but added that the report, understood to stretch to 150 pages, is “confidential”.

    Is this the end of it?

    That remains to be seen. Red Bull said the complainant has “a right of appeal”. It is unclear at this stage whether she will pursue any further action. Horner is due to be on the Red Bull pit-wall for practice on Thursday.

    What does it mean for Max Verstappen?

    Despite the controversy, the Dutch driver will head into Saturday’s curtain raiser as the favourite to win his fourth world championship.

    Speaking before it had been confirmed Horner would remain as team principal, Verstappen said: “He (Horner) is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time.”

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