Fittipaldi ‘hurt’ at losing out on Haas race seat

Michelle Foster
Pietro Fittipaldi sitting at the back of the Haas garage in testing. Bahrain March 2022

Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi sitting alone at the back of the Haas garage in testing. Bahrain March 2022

Pietro Fittipaldi says it is “disappointing” and “hurts” after being passed over for a 2022 Haas race seat.

The Brazilian, Haas’ reserve driver, was initially said to be Guenther Steiner’s “first call” if the team needed to find a replacement for Nikita Mazepin.

But when that happened, Haas instead turned to Kevin Magnussen.

Mazepin was dropped on the Saturday, Haas severing all ties with their Russian connections, and four days later announced Fittipaldi would be in action for the team on the opening day of the Bahrain test.

However, later that day the team confirmed Mazepin’s vacant seat had gone to former Haas driver Magnussen.

“[Steiner] told me it was really only two candidates under consideration, and it was me and I didn’t know who the other driver was,” Fittipaldi said.

“It was Kevin, and it went his way. And I respect the team’s decision.

“Obviously, as a racer at heart, it’s disappointing, it hurts, because I know the potential we have, and the potential I know I can deliver.

“[Steiner] said ‘we needed someone with experience’ and I understood that, but it doesn’t change my commitment to the team and the story doesn’t end here.

“I’ll keep working hard. I had to fight through a lot of adversity in my career already and this is just something else. The only thing I can do now is work even harder.”

The Brazilian will stay on as Haas’ official reserve driver having lost out on the chance to become Brazil’s first F1 driver since 2017.

“I know what we could have done, it would have been huge with Brazil and everything, it would have been amazing,” Fittipaldi added.

“The Miami GP, I was born in Miami. And then I thought it would really come together. But it’s fine. It’s not a problem. The next day you wake up, you’ve got to work harder.”

 

The 25-year-old, who substituted for Romain Grosjean for two races in 2020, is hoping his dream of racing in Formula 1 is not over.

“Another opportunity will come,” he said. “I know the story doesn’t end here.

“Whatever it may be, I told Guenther I’m just as committed as before. And every time he puts me in the car, I will be as prepared as I can be.”

 

Magnussen back at Haas

Haas made the decision to turn back to their former driver in very quick fashion.