Haas have announced that Pietro Fittipaldi will race for the team in Abu Dhabi next weekend as Romain Grosjean heads home for further medical treatment.
Grosjean suffered burns to the back of his hands during last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix following a horrific first lap crash, which saw his Haas ripped in half with the cockpit ablaze as the Frenchman miraculously escaped with minor injuries.
Fittipaldi consequently replaced Grosjean for this weekend’s Sakhir GP but will remain in the car alongside teammate – Kevin Magnussen for next weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, with Grosjean returning home to Switzerland for further treatment on his burns to the back of his hands.
Speaking on missing what was meant to be his final F1 race before bowing out alongside Magnussen, Grosjean said; “It is with great sadness that I will not be able to do my final race in Abu Dhabi and be with the team there.”
Grosjean explained that the risk of racing was simply “too big” for his recovery and long-term health which meant that the decision was taken that he won’t race which he described as “… one of the hardest decisions of my life, but it’s obviously one of the wisest.”
Haas Team Principal, Guenther Steiner has spoken of feeling “naturally very sorry” that Grosjean is missing what was set to be his final race for Haas, although he agrees that Grosjean must “take the best course of action regarding his treatment and recovery from last Sunday’s incident.”
On Grosjean’s return to the paddock in the last few days, Steiner was impressed with his attitude, saying; “Romain has shown exceptional bravery and amazing spirit over the last few days – we know how badly he wanted to be able to return to the cockpit of the VF-20 in Abu Dhabi.”
Speaking on Grosjean’s legacy at Haas after switching from Renault to the American constructor in 2016 in which he contributed 52% of the team’s 200 points in five seasons at present, Steiner said; “We will forever be grateful for that belief and commitment.
“It is those qualities, his drive and ambition, that I’m sure will aid him on his recovery. On behalf of Gene Haas and myself, together with the whole Haas F1 Team operation, we wish Romain well and a return to full health.”