Pietro Fittipaldi isn’t sour over the fact Haas overlooked him as a potential replacement for Mick Schumacher for the 2023 season.
Haas confirmed their driver line-up for 2023 ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Mick Schumacher ousted from his seat after two seasons with the American-based squad.
Instead of the young German, Haas have turned to slightly older German Nico Hulkenberg – the veteran midfield runner returning after being without a full-time seat for the past three seasons.
Fittipaldi, who has served as a development and reserve driver for Haas since late 2018, made his F1 debut with the squad as Romain Grosjean’s replacement at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
Pietro Fittipaldi back at the wheel in Abu Dhabi
Taking part in first practice for the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as a replacement for Schumacher as Haas fulfilled their junior driver obligations as defined in the rules, Fittipaldi said he wasn’t disappointed to have never been a serious candidate for the seat alongside Kevin Magnussen as negotiations with other drivers went on.
“No, I mean, listen, it’s the way it goes sometimes” Fittipaldi told PlanetF1 when asked about the situation, as he climbed out of the Haas after finishing 16th and less than a tenth behind Magnussen in FP1.
“I’ve been with Haas for many years. The important part is the team made the decision. For sure, I respect it. Nico has a lot of experience, and we’ll see what the future holds.
“But, every time I get in the car, it’s important for me to do a good job and perform. And I think we’re able to do that today.
“Thank you for the opportunity that the team gave me and I keep pushing – I never give up. I don’t know what next year is gonna hold but I keep pushing because I know with these F1 cars, I can perform.”
Pietro Fittipaldi: This generation of F1 car suits my style
Having done plenty of testing and some racing with Haas using the previous generation of F1 machinery, Fittipaldi said it took him a few laps to re-adapt to the speed of the current ground-effect machinery that was introduced for 2022.
The ground effect machines require a different driving style to previous, and Fittipaldi believes it’s a requirement that better suits his own driving style.
“I always adapt super quick with this F1 car, I think the style of driving with these F1 cars is kind of my strong point, because I always brake very late – I’m very confident and really aggressive,” he said.
“So I always adapt really quickly, and we had a great run. I was able to complete all the laps, and we were quick as well, I think that’s always important. The most important is to execute the things I need to execute with the team and learn as much as I can for the team but as well show performance. I want to show the team what I can do, and I think I think we did that today.
“On every compound we did, even on the soft tyre run that we did, we were very strong. On my second lap, I even went a bit quicker until the tire started degrading.”