Fittipaldi to sub for injured Grosjean at Sakhir GP

Michelle Foster
Pietro Fittipaldi

Pietro Fittipaldi

The Fittipaldi name will be back on the F1 grid at the Sakhir circuit with Haas announcing that Pietro Fittipaldi will fill in for the injured Romain Grosjean.

Grosjean suffered burns to his hands when he crashed on the opening lap of Sunday night’s Bahrain Grand Prix, his car shearing in half in the impact and bursting into flames.

It took the driver some 20-odd seconds to climb out of the car and through the flames to safety.

Grosjean spent Monday night in a Bahrain hospital recovering from his injuries with Haas announcing that he will be discharged on Tuesday.

His injuries mean he won’t be lining up on the start grid at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix, which takes place on the outer circuit of the Bahrain track.

Instead Haas have already announced that 24-year-old Fittipaldi will fill in for him.

“After it was decided that the best thing for Romain was to skip at least one race, the choice to put Pietro in the car was pretty easy,” stated team principal Guenther Steiner.

“Pietro will drive the VF-20 and he’s familiar with us having been around the team for the past two seasons as a test and reserve driver. It’s the right thing to do and it’s obviously a good opportunity for him.

“He’s been patient and was always prepared for this opportunity – and now it has come. That’s why we want him in the car and I’m sure he’ll do a good job.

“It’s very demanding being called in at the last minute, but as I said, I think it’s the right thing to do for Haas F1 Team.”

Fittipaldi is the the grandson of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

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Fittipaldi, Haas’ reserve driver, has previously driven the team’s F1 cars although his last run was in 2019.

That means Friday’s outing at the Sakhir circuit will be his first-ever laps in the VF-20. He has, however, been with the team during grand prix weekends while also conducting simulator work.

“Most importantly I’m happy Romain is safe and healthy,” said the 24-year-old. “We’re all very happy his injuries are relatively minor after such a huge incident.

“Obviously, it’s not an ideal set of circumstances to get my first opportunity to compete in Formula 1, but I’m extremely grateful to Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for their faith in putting me behind the wheel this weekend.

“I’ve been with the team a lot this season, both trackside and working on simulator sessions, so I’m familiar with the team’s operating procedures on a grand prix weekend.

“It’s going to be exciting to make my first career start in Formula 1 – I’ll be giving it my all and I look forward to starting in free practice on Friday in Bahrain.”

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