In Conversation with Felipe Drugovich & Clément Novalak

In Conversation with Felipe Drugovich & Clément Novalak

We caught up with MP Motorsport’s F2 drivers for a quick chat in the paddock ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.


PF - Hey guys, how are you doing? How was the summer break?

FD - For me it was very good, I went back to Brazil for almost three weeks. Enjoyed it a lot. Saw my family and everything, so I'm very happy and feeling recharged. I've been back with the team at the factory already and spent time on the simulator.

CM - Very similar, I went away to France and Switzerland to relax a little bit with the family, and then took a week off with my girlfriend to New York, so it was nice to go somewhere different.


PF - Do you get much downtime or are you back into training pretty quickly?

CM - I tried to, but in New York no. I went to at a lot of restaurants and ate good food, it was very easy. But when I'm at home I try to keep in a good rhythm with training.


PF - Is media day really as bad as drivers make out? It's probably worse for the F1 guys, right?

CM - Put it this way, the media stuff isn't the bad thing, it’s that it's spread over such a long period that we're actually at the track all day, when we're probably only required for forty minutes or so - if you take the track walk out of it. So, there is a lot of waiting around, but it's okay!

FD - The problem is that it's all the same questions over again.


PF - Felipe, you're leading the championship into the triple header and last 4 races of the season, does that feel like additional pressure, or are you feeling good about it?

FD - A bit of both, there's quite a bit of pressure but at the same time it's cool and I’m enjoying the results. I'm feeling really positive going into this weekend.


PF - Can you guys describe the season so far in 3 words?

FD - Awesome, long, tense.

CM - Tough, long, and fun!


PF - Do you approach the triple header races differently, is there more physical prep/ recovery needed in between?

FD - For me not really, we try to be as prepared as possible and most of the prep is done beforehand. If I'm not ready now, there's not much I can do.

CM - I think physically there is a bit more recovery work. I've driven Zandvoort before and most of the other drivers haven't so I know that physically it's probably as bad as Jeddah. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few sore necks going into Monza. But then, Monza's quite easy!


PF - Do you get time to enjoy the countries that you’re visiting? Any plans to explore Milan or Amsterdam?

CN - I love visiting places but unfortunately, we don’t really have that much time, so we tend to stick between airport, hotel, and track. If I get the chance to go out, I try to go check out those areas. I will possibly go to Amsterdam between the two races.


PF - Are there any race locations you want to spend more time in?

CN - Australia, I’ll probably fly out two weeks early just to “relax and get used to the time zone”. Obviously! That's the excuse, but I’ll probably do a bit of travelling. I think if we were to do more races in like Canada, the States, Mexico – for those kind of races you could do so much stuff.


PF - You guys have competed with these drivers from a young age, and there seem to be genuine friendships in the paddock, how easy is it to forget that on track, is it just a switch?

FD - On track for sure, but it probably depends from driver to driver. In my case, I have a few friends in the paddock, but on track, I’m not thinking about that.


PF - Are there any drivers or athletes that inspire you?

CN - Michael Jordan.

FD - Roger Federer.

CN - I was going to say Nadal!


PF - What’s a passion of yours outside of racing? Do you guys have any creative outlets or other sports you enjoy?

FD - I really like Tennis, and do a bit of cycling, but yeah other than that I like engines and anything that goes fast.

CN - I’ve recently got into photography a little bit. And this one is not actually a hobby, because I don’t make the clothes, but I like shopping and fashion.


PF - We were going to ask you about that! Clem, you rock some pretty chill outfits on your track walks and in the paddock, can you tell us about that? Do the team mind?

CN - I mean my style is a bit different, but because I’m not being paid I don’t really have any limitations, so I do wear what I want. If Mercedes were going to offer me a seat and I had to wear their gear, I’d wear it, but at the moment I’m just having fun with it.


PF - What’s your style inspiration?

CN - I like classy stuff. I like Roger Federer I think he’s very classy, he wears good pieces with no big branding, which everyone seems to be doing right now.


PF - Do you know the IG account @onlyclassy? I think that's a bit of you!

CN - Yes, I follow it actually!


PF - We saw you guys on the Screaming Meals podcast recently, and it’s some of the most genuine driver content we’ve seen. There’s something cool in that we think, drivers being able to build more of a brand around themselves and create and control the content. Even with things like driver merchandise, which we see a lot in F1 now. We just wondered if you had any thoughts on that, are there new avenues you would consider offering to your fan base?

CN - I think the sport has opened up a lot more recently, which is why people believe drivers are becoming brands. The things they’re doing are genuine. In the end, we're at 14 - 15 race weekends a year and the rest of the time we’re training, but there is still a lot of time where we can do whatever we want. We like to explore different things, which is why the podcast is so cool. You get to see a lot of media content in F1, and F2 as well, but I think the fact that drivers are putting themselves in a position to put stuff out there, it's far more genuine, and we’re all friends so it's a conversation between mates. It gives fans something to connect to as well.


PF - Are drivers allowed to do merch?

FD - Yeah! There are a few who do, and it depends on what the demand is, I probably should have this year. I will try to make it, but I was much more focused on racing and on track, but I should have.


PF - After the triple header, you’ve got time to kill, any plans between Monza and Abu Dhabi?

CN - That's a good question! We’ll stay fit, go to the gym, run, cycle. But in terms of what do we actually do, I don’t really know. There will be a lot of podcasts!

FD - I have a bit to do because I need to get something secured for next year. So I’ll be working very hard for that in that time, but apart from that training, that's all we can do.


Good luck this weekend and thanks so much for your time!

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