Fittipaldi will get Haas nod if Schumi fills in at Ferrari

Michelle Foster
Pietro Fittipaldi thumb up. America May 2021

Pietro Fittipaldi thumb up. America May 2021

Pietro Fittipaldi will be called by Haas to fill in for Mick Schumacher should the German have to step in at Ferrari this season.

Although Schumacher is continuing as a Formula 1 driver with Haas this season, the American team, the driver and Ferrari reached an agreement whereby he is also the Italian stable’s reserve driver.

Schumacher will fill that role alongside former F1 racer Antonio Giovinazzi, and stand-in at any grand prix weekend that clashes with Giovinazzi’s Formula E commitments.

At the time of the announcement, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto added: “Our simulator will be available to him here at Maranello, but we’ve got an entire programme because being still part of an academy, it’s part of our objectives continuously to try to develop them as as drivers because again, the final objectives, one day, is they will prove to be capable to be a Ferrari driver.”

Should that ‘one day’ turn out to be one race this season, Schumacher in line to replace Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz if for any reason one of them cannot race, Steiner says Haas will call up their reserve, Fittipaldi.

“I’m happy for Mick and I obviously spoke about it with Mattia,” Steiner told Racer. “What it means for us is that Pietro will be very happy!

Laurent Mekies fist-bumps Antonio Giovinazzi with Mick Schumacher in the background. Paul Ricard June 2021.

“In the end, this is part of being a partner and part of what we agreed to do. Obviously if you have a good car and want an experienced driver, Pietro’s done a good job for us before.

“I mean, the possibility that the reserve driver gets to drive the car, if you look at the statistics they are very, very slim.

“But if it happens, I’m good with that.”

Fittipaldi competed in two grands prix for Haas in 2020, replacing Romain Grosjean in the final two events of the championship.

The Frenchman was ruled out after suffering burns in a fiery crash at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Fittipaldi was P17 and P19 respective in the Sakhir and Abu Dhabi races.

Steiner added: “We never have to forget what he did two years ago when we put him in the race car after Romain – he did a fantastic job. We can’t ask for more.

“We don’t need to make a big thing about who to get in — we have shown loyalty, he has shown loyalty, and that is how we work.

 

“We needed someone for the test in Abu Dhabi, we didn’t go out there and try to sell the test to somebody — we said Pietro is going to drive.

“He hung out there almost every weekend with us just to make sure we are covered if something happens, and therefore if something happens that is what we are doing.”