Brazil’s Pietro Fittipaldi will make his F1 debut with Haas F1 Team in the Sakhir Grand Prix, Sunday 6 December, subbing for the injured Romain Grosjean. Grosjean sustained hand injuries during last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix and is unable to compete in Round 16 of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship hosted at the Bahrain International Circuit. Fittipaldi (24), has attended the majority of Formula 1 races this season in his test and reserve driver role with the team – the Miami-born Brazilian holding a career resume which includes a Formula V8 3.5 Championship title and several starts in IndyCar Series competition. Grandson of two-time FIA Formula 1 World Champion and double Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, Pietro has tested previously with Haas F1 Team in its VF-18 in 2018 and the VF-19 in 2019. Friday’s opening practice sessions in Bahrain will mark the first time behind the wheel of the VF-20 this season for Fittipaldi.
“After it was decided that the best thing for Romain (Grosjean) was to skip at least one race, the choice to put Pietro (Fittipaldi) in the car was pretty easy,” stated team principal Guenther Steiner. “Pietro will drive the VF-20 and 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. 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.”
“Most importantly I’m happy Romain (Grosjean) is safe and healthy,” remarked Pietro Fittipaldi. “We’re all very happy his injuries are relatively minor after such a huge incident. 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. 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.”
Round 16 of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship is the Sakhir Grand Prix – utilizing the 3.5km ‘Outer Layout’ at the Bahrain International Circuit for the first time in F1. Practice – Friday December 4. Qualifying – Saturday December 5. Race – Sunday December 6.