By: Ashley McCubbin
Haas F1 Team confirmed that their reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will fill in for Romain Grosjean in the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend.
“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,” Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner said. “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.”
As a result of a first fiery crash this past weekend, Grosjean sustained burns to the back of both his hands, resulting in the decision to miss this weekend’s event.
Grosjean would make contact with Daniil Kvyat, before being speared into the barriers just after Turn 3, with the car snapping in-half following the contact. As the Medical Car team responded to the accident dousing the flames, the Haas F1 driver climbed over the wall unaided.
Fittipaldi has attended the majority of the events with the team this year, but has yet to drive the 2020 car; he had previously tested with them in 2018 and 2019.
“Most importantly I’m happy Romain is safe and healthy. We’re all very happy his injuries are relatively minor after such a huge incident,” Fittipaldi said. “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.”