Formula 2’s Enzo Fittipaldi signs for Red Bull as academy driver

Jamie Woodhouse
Enzo Fittipaldi stands in the paddock. Belgium, August 2022.

Enzo Fittipaldi stands hands on hips in the paddock. Belgium, August 2022.

Red Bull have added Brazilian Formula 2 racer Enzo Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time former World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, to their junior ranks.

With Formula 1 at Interlagos for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, it is fitting that several Brazilian prospects are getting their foot in the Formula 1 door as Brazil looks for a new star on the grid, Enzo’s brother Pietro Fittipaldi being the most recent Brazilian to contest a grand prix at Abu Dhabi in 2020.

Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich has been snapped up by Aston Martin as a reserve driver, and now Enzo has picked up the backing of a Formula 1 team as he joins the Red Bull ranks.

It has been a strong season for the 21-year-old with Charouz in Formula 2, having achieved a trio of P2 finishes and the same number of P3s.

“I’m very happy to announce I will be joining the Red Bull Family!” Fittipaldi posted on social media as he revealed the news. “Thank you Dr Helmut Marko (Red Bull driver programme boss) and Christian Horner (team principal) for the opportunity!”

Fittipaldi stated it had been his performance in Hungary, where he finished P3 in the sprint and then P2 in the feature race, which caught Red Bull’s attention, before then having a meeting with Marko at the Belgian GP round.

“I think after my result in Budapest, where I got two podiums on the same weekend, we started [talking more seriously],” Fittipaldi told RACER.

“I’ve always had a bit of contact since last year with Dr Helmut Marko and then at Spa this year we had a meeting — so after Budapest — and we were talking and I’m very happy to announce I’m now part of the Red Bull family. The junior team is an amazing opportunity for me.”

Currently P6 in the F2 standings, Fittipaldi is one of three drivers tied on 126 points. Logan Sargeant in P3, who is set to join Williams next season should he secure his Super Licence, is only nine points further up.

Fittipaldi explained the importance of claiming that P3 spot for himself in order to secure a Super Licence, which would potentially open the door to Formula 1 opportunities with Red Bull.

Only one round remains of the 2022 Formula 2 season, which takes place alongside Formula 1’s final outing in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s difficult to say now. I still have to do a really good job in Abu Dhabi,” said Fittipaldi on what his future with Red Bull could look like.

“I’m fighting for third in the championship in Formula 2, I have the race next week, so it’s really important I do a good job there, so the goal is to finish top three this year.

“Let’s just say Abu Dhabi is very important for me. It’s very important I do a good job there. We’ll see what comes after.

“For sure, being part of a [Formula 1] team for me has always been a dream, especially Red Bull — the championship-winning team, the best team in Formula 1. It’s a dream for me.

“So all I can do is thank Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull, Christian Horner — it’s an unbelievable opportunity. Now is the time to work hard and keep pushing.”

Marko revealed Fittipaldi’s strong performances in a midfield team had convinced him to secure his services, and with Fittipaldi now set to join Carlin for 2023 this should represent a step up in terms of the team he will compete with.

“That he performed in a midfield team, I would say,” Marko told regarding the appeal of Fittipaldi. “He was always there at the top.

“I think he had his ups and downs and now he knows there’s a chance. He will be with Carlin, which is a top team. And he’s a character.”

Marko also confirmed current Red Bull and AlphaTauri reserve driver Liam Lawson will be swapping F2 for Super Formula in Japan next season, a series that was key in the development of Pierre Gasly who finished runner-up in 2017.

“It’s a difficult place to be,” said Marko of the challenge awaiting Lawson. “The Japanese drivers know every centimetre, they know all the tracks, it’s not easy.”

Another of Red Bull’s F2 stars, Dennis Hauger, who has not made the impact expected following a dominant F3 campaign, winning only twice and P11 in the current standings, is nonetheless also in line for some F1 reserve duties next season, according to Marko.

“We have several reserve drivers. Another one will be Hauger, that’s what is decided so far,” Marko stated. “And we will see at the beginning of the season how it’s going.

“There will be some clashes, but out of our youngsters there will be two or three.”

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