Haas confirms Pietro Fittipaldi for Sakhir Grand Prix following Grosjean crash


Romain Grosjean is expected to leave hospital tomorrow, but will skip this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix, with Pietro Fittipaldi replacing him at Haas

Pietro Fittipaldi in Haas racesuit

Pietro Fittipaldi will replace Grosjean for the second race in Bahrain


Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will make his Formula 1 debut for Haas in the Sakhir Grand Prix, replacing Romain Grosjean following the Frenchman’s shocking crash at the start of the Bahrain GP on Sunday.

Grosjean crashed heavily on the exit of Turn Three but managed to escape his destroyed VF-20 with minor burns and no broken bones.

After being taken to the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital, Grosjean remained there on Sunday night for precautionary checks following the race. He is expected to be discharged tomorrow but will not be back in the car next weekend.

Grandson of two-time world champion Emerson, Pietro Fittipaldi has taken part in multiple tests with the team in 2018 and 2019.

“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,” team principal Guenther Steiner said.

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“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.”

He will be the fourth member of the Fittipaldi family to race in F1, following Emerson, as well as Wilson and Christian Fittipaldi.

Pietro won the Formula V8 3.5 championship back in 2017 and has several DTM and IndyCar race starts since then.

Most recently for Haas, he took part in the pre-season tests ahead of the 2019 season, but the Sakhir GP will be the first time the Brazilian has been at the wheel of the 2020 VF-20 car.

“Most importantly I’m happy Romain is safe and healthy,” Fittipaldi said.

“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.”