Celebrations raged at MP Motorsport on Saturday, 10 September, as Felipe Drugovich brought the Dutch team its first driver’s championship in the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
After a demanding Feature Race on Sunday morning in which Drugovich finished sixth and teammate Clément Novalak finished eighth, InsideF2 caught up with MP Motorsport team manager Jeremy Cotterill to talk about the successes of the 2022 season.
Cotterill raced in single-seaters in the United Kingdom and the United States in the early 1990s before pivoting to various roles in engineering and team management. He has been with MP Motorsport since its early days in the GP2 Series, Formula 2’s predecessor.
Under Cotterill’s leadership, MP Motorsport has taken five wins this season, all of them with Drugovich at the wheel. The Brazilian driver scored Feature Race wins at Jeddah, Monaco and Zandvoort as well as victories in both the Sprint and Feature Races in Round 4 at Barcelona.
“Everybody likes to win Monaco, but Zandvoort was great under our home crowd,” Cotterill says about his highlights of the season. “For me, the double win in Barcelona was the best.”
Drugovich rocketed from fourth on the grid to first in the Sprint Race and never looked back en route to his second win of 2022. The following day, the eve of his 22nd birthday, Drugovich masterfully executed a long opening stint on the option tyre to seize the eventual lead of the Feature Race despite starting 10th.
Compared to the fast but raw Drugovich he worked with in 2020, Cotterill sees a more complete driver this season, a trait that has been especially evident in the past three rounds.
“There’s growth, there’s his experience that he’s gained. It’s difficult to judge with a crazy year like we’ve had now, but what I can tell you is that for me, when we returned from the summer break, he has driven like a champion-elect, at Spa and Zandvoort and to a degree even here at Monza,” Cotterill says of Drugovich.
“He didn’t have the best of weekends, but it was enough to get the job done because we’d done enough work prior to that.”
Damage sustained in an opening-lap collision in the Monza Sprint Race forced Drugovich to retire and meant he was crowned champion from the pitwall. Cotterill relished those moments of celebration, but he’s hoping to experience them again in November. At the final round in Abu Dhabi, MP Motorsport has the chance to clinch the teams’ championship, which it leads jointly on 281 points with ART Grand Prix.
“For me, it’s equally as important as the drivers’ [championship],” Cotterill says. “If I only get one, I’ll be happy. I’m already happy! But we will be going for the teams’ as well to the best of our ability.”
Every great driver needs a great support system, and Cotterill believes there are plenty of people at MP Motorsport whose efforts have helped bring Drugovich to glory.
“I can’t isolate anybody in particular. Everybody has contributed towards his season. Felipe of course himself. His engineers, Paolo Angilella and Daniele Rossi, have done a great job. His mechanics have done a great job,” Cotterill tells InsideF2.
“In F2, there’s occasionally some reliability issues, and so far, his reliability has been impeccable. Everybody talks about his level of consistency, which is true, so when things weren’t going great, he was still able to put in a result. But to do that, you need the reliability of the car.
“I think the mechanic crew, the entire crew, the amount of time, effort, work, attention to detail that they put in – I can’t really isolate one specific person. It’s true what they say: it’s a team effort.”