After turning down IndyCar it seems like Felipe Drugovich could be a candidate for Alfa Romeo in place of Zhou Guanyu
Alfa Romeo still has an open seat for next year as Zhou Guanyu’s contract hasn’t been renewed yet. For Felipe Drugovich this could be the opportunity to make his F1 debut. After turning down IndyCar everyone thinks that his debut in F1 could be closer than ever. In fact, Felipe Drugovich’s possible Alfa Romeo contract is the newest talk of the paddock. After all, who could be so foolish to turn down a tangible offer in IndyCar if a Formula 1 contract was not just around the corner?
Drugovich has allegedly turned down the offer for an IndyCar test invite from Ed Carpenter. Given the prestige of the American series, this decision indicates that Drugovich’s sight is still set on F1. Apart from that, in the last few weeks, rumors of the precariousness of Zhou Guanyu‘s position have been circulating in the paddock. Moreover, after his FP1 run in Monza, Drugovich explained to the team of Sky Sports Italy that he was still exploring his options.
Right now the drivers market for next year has very few opened windows. Alfa Romeo is in fact one of the three teams without a confirmed drivers lineup for 2024. Everyone expected Guanyu to sign a contract extension at least during the summer. However, since there has been no news about it the rumors continue to persist. Audi, joining Formula 1 in 2026, also could have a certain influence over the driver lineup. If this was true Felipe Drugovich and Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire could be two of the main contenders to join the outfit.
The rumors don’t stop here as for some people Drugovich could also move to Formula E while remaining as Aston Martin’s reserve driver. But there are a lot of things to consider. This year Alfa Romeo’s partnership with Sauber is going to end. For this reason, English insider Joe Saward doesn’t think that Drugovich could be appealing to the Swiss team.
“There was talk of him joining Sauber but he does not want to be viewed as a pay-driver and does not have the kind of money the Swiss team wants and so the team needs to go on searching.”
– Joe Saward about Felipe Druovich on his blog
Since Audi is stepping in place of Sauber in 2026 some might think of Mick Schumacher as an option. Him being a German driver could in fact appease the German manufacturer, Audi.
Is Drugovich ready for F1?
After winning last year’s Formula 2 Championship not everyone was convinced that he could make the cut to debut in Formula 1. Also, a variety of factors prevented the Brazilian driver from securing an F1 contract. However, he seems determined to secure a seat on the 2024 grid.
Having won the F2 Championship in his third season in the category his performances were not deemed adequate to earn an F1 deal. For example, Logan Sargeant was signed by Williams despite finishing fourth in the Drivers’ Standings. Sargeant was not only a Williams junior but also a rookie, this certainly amplified the impressiveness of his performances. Drugovich was unfortunately not considered of F1 caliber. As is often the case in motorsport a series of dominos must fall in his favour.
However, this could be not the only option for the Brazilian driver. He participated in the rookie tests organized by Formula E. The team Maserati MSG Racing announced him as the driver who would take part in the tests. Drugovich impressed the team in Berlin and again in Rome. James Rossiter, the Team Principal of Maserati MSG Racing expressed his impressions about the Brazilian:
“Felipe really impressed us in Berlin, and after showing a strong understanding and technical awareness, despite never having driven a Formula E car before-he was our natural first choice for Rome. Cultivating the next generation of talent is a key part of who we are as a team, and offering this opportunity to Felipe, one of the most promising young drivers in motorsport, is very meaningful to us. We look forward to him gaining more experience behind the wheel.”
As always rumors are just rumors. However many hope to see Felipe Drugovich’s career take off, whether in Formula 1 or in another branch of Motorsport. Is Felipe Drugovich a real candidate for Alfa Romeo? As of now, Alfa Romeo hasn’t released any statement in regard to next year’s lineup. Could the absence of Zhou Guanyu’s renewed contract be the first step into his Formula 1 career? Or does the future have other plans for him?