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Aston Martin officially confirm Drugovich as Stroll stand-in if Canadian can’t race in Bahrain Grand Prix

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 25: Felipe Drugovich of Brazil and Aston Martin F1 Team looks on in the

Aston Martin have officially confirmed that reserve driver Felipe Drugovich will get the call-up to race for the team in next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix should Lance Stroll not be able to compete, having sustained a wrist injury in a pre-season training accident.

A bike crash for Stroll derailed his preparations for his seventh season in F1, with the Canadian subsequently ruled out of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

READ MORE: The 5 key questions from 2023 pre-season testing in Bahrain

That led to reigning F2 champion Drugovich being called up to run for Aston Martin during the test alongside new signing Fernando Alonso, the Brazilian managing 117 laps across Thursday and Saturday in an AMR23 car already being touted as a potential midfield leader.

But with Stroll remaining in doubt for the Bahrain Grand Prix, a statement from Aston Martin on social media a week out from race day confirmed: “The team will continue to give Lance every chance to race, pending recovery from his injury. Should he not be fit to compete, then Felipe will drive the AMR23 alongside Fernando.”

Speaking ahead of the confirmation, Drugovich – who shares the Aston Martin reserve role this year with former McLaren racer Stoffel Vandoorne – told F1 TV’s Laura Winter: “I’m just preparing myself to be ready in case the team needs me, but also trying to help the team as well.

“Everything depends on Lance’s condition, so I’m going to be on standby just trying to be prepared, trying to get the most experience I can, just to be there in case he can’t race. But of course, we wish him all the best to be back soon.”

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Should Drugovich step into the cockpit, it will mean that three drivers will make their Formula 1 race debuts at the Bahrain Grand Prix season opener, Drugovich joined by Williams’ Logan Sargeant and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri – with fellow ‘rookie’ Nyck de Vries set to make his second Grand Prix start, having stood in for Alex Albon at Williams in Monza last year.

Testing helpful for Drugovich to be 'ready, if team needs me' to stand in for Stroll

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