Pietro Fittipaldi will fulfil his lifelong dream of racing in Formula 1 at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix, but he admits his opportunity has not come “under the best circumstances”.

Fittipaldi - grandson of two-time F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi - will stand in for Romain Grosjean as the Haas regular continues to recover from the injuries he sustained in his horrific first lap crash at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old Brazilian, who secured an F1 superlicence earlier this year by finishing fifth in the Asian F3 series, wishes his “surreal” debut could have come in better circumstances.

“I’ve been dreaming of racing in Formula 1 since I started racing,” Fittipaldi said.

“I was four years old when I started karting, so it’s surreal. Obviously it’s not under the best circumstances, my debut, with Romain having his crash, but he’s very lucky - obviously he burned his hands and hurt his foot but very lucky to come out of that the way he did, it’s really a miracle.

“I got my debut that way, it’s difficult but obviously I’m happy with the opportunity. I’m grateful to the team for the trust they have in me. I’m looking forward to going out already.”

Fittipaldi revealed that both Kevin Magnussen and Grosjean, who returned to the Bahrain paddock on Thursday just a day after he was discharged from hospital, have been providing him advice and helping him get up to speed as he prepares for his maiden grand prix weekend.

“I’m not driving for the best team but for me it’s an amazing group of people,” Fittipaldi said. “I think the group of people we have at Haas, they’ve been helping me a lot, the engineers, mechanics, I’ve known them for two years.

“Kevin as well, Romain, they’ve been very supportive and open with me because they know it’s my first race, it’s going to be difficult with all the procedural stuff in F1. But the team has been amazing, that’s a huge plus for me, that helps out a lot.

“The most difficult thing at first I think is maybe physically. I don’t know how this track will be physically, it’s a shorter track, longer straights, fewer corners but heavy braking zones. But the team has been doing a great job in helping me as well as Kevin, it’s been great to have his as my team mate. Romain as well, I’ve been speaking to him, he’s been very supportive.”

Fittipaldi has tested Haas’ 2018 and 2019 car but he is yet to drive its 2020 challenger, the VF-20. The Brazilian expects his first experience will come as a “bit of a shock to my body” and reckons the physical aspect of driving the fastest-ever F1 cars will be the biggest challenge he faces.

“You do sim work, you try to keep physically fit. It’s just difficult to simulate the G-Forces that you have in F1 cars in the gym, it’s almost impossible,” he explained.

“You try to keep your neck fit, your upper body, but at the end of the day, the best training you can do is driving. I haven’t driven the car in a year, I know it’s going to be a bit of a shock to my body on Friday.

“But we’re going to manage it and I’m confident we’re going to be good. So just trying to look through all the procedural stuff you have to do, the run plan for the first practices and then take it from there after Friday.”

 

Comments

Loading Comments...