Formula 1

Fittipaldi Admits to Hurting Over Race Seat Snub but Remains Committed to Haas Team

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Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images

Pietro Fittipaldi admits missing out on the drive with the Haas F1 Team ‘hurts’ but ultimately, he understands why Kevin Magnussen was chosen over him.

The Brazilian was tipped to replace the ousted Nikita Mazepin at the team in 2022, but Team Principal Guenther Steiner revealed to him that they were after someone with experience, and his two races with the team at the end of 2020 while replacing the injured Romain Grosjean were not enough.

Ultimately, the decision was made to rehire Magnussen, who had previously raced for Haas between 2017 and 2020, but rather than be deflated with the decision, Fittipaldi has said he will continue to work hard for the team and prove his worth to them, and he has not given up on his dream of racing full-time in Formula 1 in the future.

“[Steiner] told me it was really only two candidates under consideration, and it was me and I didn’t know who the other driver was,” Fittipaldi is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.

“It was Kevin, and it went his way. And I respect the team’s decision. Obviously, as a racer at heart, it’s disappointing, it hurts, because I know the potential we have, and the potential I know I can deliver.

“[Steiner] said: ’We needed someone with experience’, and I understood that, but it doesn’t change my commitment to the team, and the story doesn’t end here.

“I’m going to keep working hard. I had to fight through a lot of adversity in my career already. And this is just something else. The only thing I can do now is work even harder.”

Formula 1 has been missing a full-time Brazilian driver since the retirement of Felipe Massa, and Fittipaldi says it would have been huge for his country for him to join the Formula 1 grid this year.  And as Miami-born, it would have been amazing to race in the first ever Miami Grand Prix, which is scheduled for May this year.

“I know what we could have done, it would have been huge with Brazil and everything, it would have been amazing,” said Fittipaldi.  “The Miami GP, I was born in Miami.

“And then I thought it was really going to come together. But it’s fine. It’s not a problem. The next day you wake up, you’ve got to work harder.

“Another opportunity will come, I know the story doesn’t end here. Whatever it may be, I told Gunther I’m just as committed as it was before. And every time he puts me in the car, I’m going to be as prepared as I can be.”

Fittipaldi was given an afternoon in the VF-22 during Thursday’s opening day of the final pre-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit, and he completed forty-seven valuable laps as the team continued to learn about its 2022 challenger.

It was the first time the Brazilian was able to taste thew new-for-2022 cars on track, and he used predominantly the harder compounds of Pirelli tyres and completed long runs.

“Today was great, finally getting to drive the VF-22,” said Fittipaldi on Thursday. “It’s a new car, a new generation, so it’s very valuable and important to get those laps in and it’s a very different car to drive, so it was interesting.

“We were focused on doing a lot of laps – that was the main goal since we didn’t get as much in Barcelona – so we were running harder compounds and a lot of longer lap simulations. We accomplished our goal and I’m very happy with today. It was very important to gain experience with this new car.”

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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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