Pietro Fittipaldi to make F1 debut for Haas

Romain Grosjean will miss this weekend's race due to burns sustained to his hands at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Haas has confirmed Romain Grosjean will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix following his fiery collision in yesterday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, with test and reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi taking his seat.

The Brazilian, who is the grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, will be making his Formula 1 debut, having previously tested with Haas in 2018 and 2019.

Grosjean remains in hospital in Bahrain after suffering burns to his hands in the crash, which saw his car split in two before bursting into flames, with the safety cell splitting the crash barrier.

A statement from the team released earlier today confirmed he’s likely to be discharged from hospital tomorrow, with tests having ruled out any fractures or further injuries.

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN – NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, is taken away on a stretcher after his opening lap crash during the Bahrain GP at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday November 29, 2020 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)

However, Haas says the injuries to his hands mean the Frenchman won’t be able to race again this weekend, resulting in the call-up for Fittipaldi. Team Principal Guenther Steiner said: “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 VF20 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.”

Fittipaldi added: “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.”

Fittipaldi is one of two reserve drivers for Haas, with the other, Louis Deletraz, set to be involved in the F2 finale at the weekend.


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