Haas confirms Pietro Fittipaldi for Sakhir Grand Prix!

© XPB 

Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will make his Formula 1 race debut with the US outfit next weekend, subbing for the injured Romain Grosjean.

The Frenchman, who managed to escape his car's wreck and a fiery blaze on his own after a 221 km/h impact with barriers, suffered minor burns to the back of his hands while X-rays revealed no broken bones.

On Monday, Haas said that Grosjean was continuing his convalescence at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) hospital where he is being treated for burns "sustained on the back of both his hands".

The 34-year-old is expected to be discharged on Tuesday. However, Haas has called upon Fittipaldi to fill in for Grosjean for next weekend's race on Sakhir's outer loop.

The young Brazilian won the 2017 Formula V8 3.5 title and has previously raced in IndyCar, DTM and in the Japanese Super Formula series.

"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."

The 24-year-old grandson of F1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi admitted he was being drafted in amid difficult circumstances.

"Most importantly I’m happy Romain is safe and healthy," remarked 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," added the Brazilian.

"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."

Anorak fact: Pietro Fittipaldi will be the first member of the famous Brazilian dynasty to start an F1 Grand Prix since Christian Fittipaldi lined up on the grid of the Australian GP in Adelaide in 1994 with the Footwork outfit.

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