Haas have called up Pietro Fittipaldi for his F1 debut as the Brazilian replaces Romain Grosjean for next weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
Fittipaldi is currently one of Haas’ two development drivers alongside Louis Deletraz who is committed to Formula Two finale this weekend, leaving the 24 year-old Brazilian as the preferred choice to replace Grosjean, after the Frenchman suffered minor burns in an opening lap crash during Sunday’s Bahrain GP.
In a statement, Haas confirmed that Grosjean would “skip at least one race” with the decision to put Fittipaldi in his seat being “pretty easy” choice according to Team Principal, Guenther Steiner.
Steiner admitted that the fact that Fittipaldi is “familiar with us having been around the team for the past two seasons as a test and reserve driver” meaning that putting him in the car is “the right thing to do and it’s obviously a good opportunity for him.”
Haas also confirmed that treatment for burns on the back of Grosjean’s hands “is going well” and that he is expected to be discharged on 1 December 2020.
Fittipaldi speaking on his opportunity, acknowledged the situation concerning Grosjean, saying; “Most importantly I’m happy Romain (Grosjean) is safe and healthy,”
Fittipaldi also spoke of his opportunity to make his F1 race weekend debut, saying; “Obviously it’s not an ideal set of circumstances to get my first opportunity to compete in Formula 1, but I’m extremely grateful to Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for their faith in putting me behind the wheel this weekend.”
On his familiarity with the team, the ex IndyCar driver said; “I’ve been with the team a lot this season, both trackside and working on simulator sessions, so I’m familiar with the team’s operating procedures on a grand prix weekend. It’s going to be exciting to make my first career start in Formula 1 – I’ll be giving it my all and I look forward to starting in free practice on Friday in Bahrain.