Fittipaldi to fill in for Grosjean in oval races

Tom Rawcliffe
Pietro Fittipaldi PA

Pietro Fittipaldi PA

Pietro Fittipaldi will reportedly be Romain Grosjean‘s replacement for the IndyCar oval races in which he will not take part during the 2021 season.

Grosjean’s move into the IndyCar series was announced earlier this month, alongside the news that he would not take part in any of the races taking place on oval tracks.

The Frenchman cited the “significant risk” of those races as the reason for him not wishing to take part, also saying he could not put that strain on his family following his horrific crash in Bahrain last season.

Speaking to at the start of February, he said: “As much as I’d like to win the Indy 500, it’s a significant risk and some of the accidents we’ve seen are wild.

“I’m not saying the drivers get injured, but they are driving cars at 210mph or more right next to each other, so it’s a risk. That’s the limiting factor compared to how I thought before the accident in Bahrain.

“If I was 25 and had no children I would do the whole season, no doubt. But I am the father of three children, and for two minutes and 45 seconds in Bahrain I know they thought they had lost their father.”

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He will therefore only race in 13 of the 17 rounds, all of which take place on circuit or street tracks, and taking his spot for the ovals will be Fittipaldi, according to RacingNews365.

The grandson of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi is no stranger to filling in for Grosjean, having done so for the final two races of the 2020 F1 season.

In the Haas car, he finished P17 and P19 at the Sakhir and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix respectively.

Fittipaldi has also featured in IndyCar before, having raced for Dale Coyne in 2018, although his season was cut short due to a crash in a World Endurance Championship car at Spa which left him with two broken legs.

Speaking to Autosport in December 2020, Fittipaldi said keeping a foot in Formula 1 while racing IndyCar would be the “ideal scenario” and it appears that is what will happen.

Fittipaldi will be Haas‘ test and reserve driver in the 2021 season while filling in for Grosjean at Dale Coyne Racing.

In the aforementioned interview with Autosport, Fittipaldi said: “It is a goal for next year. In fact, I raced in IndyCar before, I adapted well to the car, we had top-10 finishes, when I was racing injured. So I know I can do well there. And it’s a great series with great drivers.”

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