Bahrain Grand Prix – Haas will field Pietro Fittipaldi in place of the injured Romain Grosjean for this weekend’s second race at the Sakhir Circuit.
Romain Grosjean will miss this weekend’s second race in Bahrain, due to be held on the Sakhir Circuit’s outer loop layout. The Haas driver was involved in a huge crash on the first lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix, and was fortunate to escape with his life after his car punched through the armco barrier.
Grosjean sustained minor injuries in the crash, although escaped without any fractures. He has picked up minor burns on his hands, and will sit out the race this weekend. He is expected to be discharged from hospital on Tuesday.
Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of World Champion Emerson, will make his debut in Formula 1 with the team. Fittipaldi, the 24 year old Brazilian racer, has been test and reserve driver since 2017, and he has tested for Haas in 2018 and 2019.
“After it was decided that the best thing for Romain (Grosjean) was to skip at least one race, the choice to put Pietro (Fittipaldi) 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, who has started several races in IndyCar and has won a Formula V8 3.5 Championship, says he’s pleased to have the opportunity to make an F1 appearance, even if it’s under the cloud of Grosjean’s inability to take part.
“Most importantly I’m happy Romain (Grosjean) is safe and healthy,” remarked Pietro Fittipaldi. “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.”
It’s not yet been confirmed whether Grosjean will be on track for the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi in less than two weeks, which is due to be his final F1 appearance with Haas anyway as the team have dropped him and Kevin Magnussen for 2021.