Pietro Fittipaldi has been called up to cover the injured Romain Grosjean for Haas F1 Team at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Grosjean was involved in a horrific crash on the first lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix. His car slammed into the barriers after Turn 3 causing his car to split in two and become engulfed in flames. Luckily he walked away from the incident and was transferred to a local hospital to be assessed. He gained burns to his hands and ankles but has no life-threating injuries.
The team has decided that although Grosjean maybe fit to race this weekend, it would be best for him to sit this one out.
Fittipaldi has been part of the Haas F1 Team since 2018 and has attended majority of this years races as test and reserve driver.
Fittipaldi said: “Most importantly I’m happy Romain (Grosjean) is safe and healthy. 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.”
Team Principal Guenther Steiner believes that Fittipaldi stepping in is “the right thing to do”.
“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. 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,” said Steiner.
“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.”