Formula 1: Pietro Fittipaldi to Step in for Injured Grosjean at Round 2 of Bahrain Grand Prix
The 24-year-old is the grandson of two-time F1 champ Emerson Fittipaldi.
Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi will be stepping into the cockpit of the Haas VF-20 for this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix, which is essentially round two of last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, though it will take place on a different track configuration. The 24-year-old will be subbing for Romain Grosjean, who will sit out a race weekend after an opening-lap crash left him with burns to his hands and ankles.
The up-and-coming youngster is the grandson of two-time F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, but he's also been Haas' test and reserve driver since 2018 and has made a total of seven test appearances with the American squad, though all of them in either the 2018- or 2019-spec racers. This weekend will be his first time in the cockpit of the 2020 racer, meaning that despite traveling with the team full-time in 2020 and having plenty of simulator sessions under his belt, his learning curve will be somewhat steep come Friday afternoon.
“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," Fittipaldi told F1.com.
“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," he added.
Fittipaldi has worked his way up the motorsport ladder after starting out in karts and spending some time in open-wheel racers, before jumping into endurance prototypes, IndyCar, and even DTM.
“He’s been patient and was always prepared for this opportunity – and now it has come," Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told F1.com. "That’s why we want him in the car and I’m sure he’ll do a good job. It’s very demanding being called in at the last minute, but as I said, I think it’s the right thing to do for Haas F1 Team.”
Despite miraculously not suffering life-threatening injuries as a result of his fiery crash, Grosjean is expected to remain at the hospital under medical supervision until Dec. 1. The racing community has rallied around the French driver by sharing their messages of support via phone calls or social media, with most being in agreement that it was the controversial Halo that saved Grosjean's life.
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