The young Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi will make his F1 debut this weekend, replacing Romain Grosjean after the terrible crash he suffered during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
In a statement made by Haas on Monday morning, they confirmed that Grosjean had suffered burns to his hands and is unable to compete at the next event.
Fittipaldi, who is the grandson of former two-time F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, is the test and reserve driver for Haas and has attended most races this year with the team in this capacity.
He is already in Bahrain, assisting Will Buxton in co-presenting the F1 Live show after the Bahrain race.
“Most importantly I’m happy Romain is safe and healthy,” Fittipaldi said about the news. “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.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas also confirmed the decision to replace Grosjean for a race after seeing him at the hospital on Monday.
“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.
“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 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.”