Haas has confirmed that they will be replacing the injured Romain Grosjean with Pietro Fittipaldi for the upcoming Sakhir Grand Prix. After Grosjean’s horrific crash at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday, the American team looked to their two reserve drivers.
With Louis Delétraz as the other option, but the Swiss driver competing in Formula 2’s season finale, it’s no surprise Haas chose Fittipaldi instead. The Brazilian-American driver will race on Bahrain’s outer layout track in F1’s first foray on the shorter layout.
Fittipaldi hasn’t exactly clocked up the miles this year in racing so will need to get up to speed quickly in Friday’s practice sessions. It’s likely Haas will retain his services for Abu Dhabi also. They will, as all of us do, hope for a quick recovery for Romain Grosjean, but to have the Frenchman driving next weekend, just two weeks after walking out of such a terrible accident would be truly remarkable.
Fittipaldi has his championship from the World Series Formula V8 3.5 (i.e. Formula Renault 3.5) in 2017 to thank for his superlicence points. He clinched 35 of them for taking that championship, though there were few drivers in the running for the title. Nonetheless, Pietro meets the minimum requirements to pilot an F1 car and will no doubt relish the opportunity to follow in his grandfathers F1 footsteps.
It’s worthwhile to point out that Pietro has driven for Haas previously, but only in testing. The 2019 Barcelona pre-season test saw Fittipaldi drive the VF-19 around the Circuit-de-Catalunya track, as pictured above. He’s also tested for Haas at Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, too, coincidentally.
Haas Team Principal, Guenther Steiner, on Pietro Fittipaldi:
“He’s familiar with us having been around the team for the past two seasons as a test and reserve driver. It’s the right thing to do and it’s obviously a good opportunity for him.
“He’s been patient and was always prepared for this opportunity and now it has come. That’s why we want him in the car and I’m sure he’ll do a good job.”
For further information on Pietro, check out our recent Academy Focus piece from earlier this month.