Pietro Fittipaldi will make his Formula 1 debut this weekend at the Sakhir Grand Prix after Romain Grosjean was ruled out through injury.
Haas F1 driver Grosjean sustained burns to the backs of his hands in a terrifying crash on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, leaving him in need of treatment in hospital.
Although Grosjean is set to be released from hospital on Tuesday, Haas has confirmed that he is unable to race in the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend.
As a result, Haas reserve driver Fittipaldi will get the call up to make his F1 debut, replacing Grosjean.
“After it was decided that the best thing for Romain was to skip at least one race, the choice to put Pietro in the car was pretty easy,” said Haas F1 team principal Gunther Steiner.
“Pietro will drive the VF-20 canid 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 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.”
Fittipaldi is the grandson of two-time F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and won the 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 title before appearing in IndyCar and once in Super Formula alongside his Haas reserve commitments.
The Brazilian acknowledged it was “not ideal” circumstances under which to make his debut, but thanked the team for its faith to put him in the car.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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