UNI-Virtuosi Racing has signed rookie sensation Felipe Drugovich to join the team for the 2021 FIA Formula 2 season.
Drugovich had a breakthrough year in 2020 as he graduated from FIA Formula 3 to race in FIA F2 for the first time, with MP Motorsport.
He claimed three victories including a dominant feature race performance in Bahrain late last month to cap off one of the most impressive maiden seasons in recent memory.
The Brazilian driver is 20-years-old and hails from Maringa in the southern part of Brazil.
He has lived in Italy during his car racing career and his surname means ‘son of dragon’. The charismatic driver has become a hit on social media this year.
He won the prestigious MRF Challenge title in 2017-18, before going on to claim the Spanish Formula 3 and Euroformula Open championship in 2018.
UNI-Virtuosi was the standout team in the 2020 Formula 2 season, claiming as many pole positions as the rest of the field combined on the way to four wins and second in the teams' championship standings.
The squad has made and asserted effort to work with and develop young drivers in the past, and is proud to continue that streak with Drugovich.
Q&A with Felipe Drugovich
Why join UNI-Virtuosi?
"I think if you take a big picture of the championship, I think UNI-Virtuosi has been the team that has had the best pace. Through the season they had really good qualifying pace, and they're really fast at every track.
"With other teams you could see they were really good somewhere, but somewhere else, they might not have the pace.
"So I think this has been the most consistently good thing. And that's why we wanted to get on board with them."
How does it feel to race for a team known for breeding great talent?
"Yeah, that's a good feeling, of course. I think, some inspiration you get from it as well.
"I think it's a good feeling to represent a good team like that. So yeah, I think that gives you an extra boost."
How much confidence have you taken from your debut year?
"I'm really confident. I think we're in the top team and from my side, I've learned a lot this year.
"I didn't know what to expect coming into F2 but with these results, I think going into next year, I can be confident that we can do a good job.
"I don't think we should expect anything, just work on it and try to deliver the best every weekend."
Approach and targets for 2021?
"My approach is just doing my job, at the same time I aim to win next year.
"I think that just comes from the work we do from now on, from the postseason test and ensure that we can deliver next year. So I think it's pretty straightforward."
What do you need to work on for next year?
"I think it's a bit of everything. I have to improve any weak points from this year and focus on that, not make the same mistakes next year.
"But at the same time, the team has a lot of experience to teach me new things and things that maybe I didn't do this year that I don't know, but they do."
On becoming a hit on social media
"Yeah, it's pretty cool! My Instagram account just ramped up our numbers a lot! So it's quite nice to see that.
"But in the end, I am the kind of driver that tries not to look at that too much and just focus on the old school stuff and not so much the social media.
"The fans and social media are really important to me, but it's also important to focus on the driving!"
UNI-Virtuosi Racing team statement
"UNI-Virtuosi Racing is delighted to have Felipe Drugovich onboard for the 2021 FIA Formula 2 season.
"Felipe had a fantastic maiden season in Formula 2 this year with three victories, despite the uncertainty 2020 has produced.
"He has shown amazing pace and ability in only his first year in the championship.
"UNI-Virtuosi Racing has a long history of working with young drivers to help them succeed in a competitive championship quickly, and that’s exactly what we’re targeting with Felipe.
"We’re looking forward to him joining us for the post-season test to work with his new team-mates on being ready to hit the ground running at the start of next season.
"UNI-Virtuosi Racing will announce its second driver for 2021 in due course."