Pietro Fittipaldi will continue to act as Haas’ official test and reserve driver for the 2021 Formula 1 season after extending his deal with the American team.

The 24-year-old Brazilian attended the majority of the races last season and was called into action to deputise for Romain Grosjean when injury ruled the Haas regular out of the final two events of the year following his fiery crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time F1 world champion Emerson, finished 17th on his debut at the Sakhir Grand Prix, before once again completing the entire distance of the race at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, taking 19th.

He will continue to support the team trackside throughout 2021 as a back up for Haas’ new driver line-up consisting of Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

“I’m very happy to be able to continue into my third year with Haas F1 Team,” said Fittipaldi. “I’m grateful to Gene [Haas] and Guenther [Steiner] for the opportunity once again.

“I’ve been working with the engineers now for a couple of years and I really feel like it’s a big family at Haas. It’s a great pleasure for me to be able to continue working with the team.

“With the two races I ran last year, it just helped me gain even more experience, and I’m sure that’s going to help me be able to contribute more to the team as a result.

“I’m really looking forward to the new season and I’m just really excited to be continuing my relationship with Haas and being with them again in Bahrain in March.” 

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said the US outfit was particularly impressed with how Fittipaldi adapted to being called up to make his F1 debut at such short notice amid difficult circumstances.

“We’re all delighted to continue our relationship with Pietro Fittipaldi,” he added.

“The role of test and reserve driver means you might be called up to drive at very short notice and that turned out to be the case for Pietro in Bahrain at the end of 2020.

“Despite the demands of driving with little time to prepare, he undoubtedly did a solid job for us – not least as he hadn’t even tested the VF-20. He didn’t get caught up in the moment, he proved patient and ultimately, he did what he was asked to do – he brought the car home in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

“That first-hand race experience will only serve to add value in terms of what he brings to the team in his role this season. We look forward to working with Pietro and having him with us again throughout the year.”