Speaking in an interview with Bob Varsha for Speed City Broadcasting, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner confirmed the American outfit’s reserve driver Fittipaldi is first in line for Mazepin’s seat in the event he cannot race. 

Mazepin’s position at Haas has been cast into doubt after the team said it would review the long-term future of title sponsor Uralkali, which is co-owned by Mazepin’s father, Dmitry, next week. 

Haas ran its car in a plain white livery during the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Friday in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“If Nikita couldn’t drive for one or another reason, the first call would go to Pietro,” Steiner said. 

“Obviously, he is with us for a few years, and then we would see what we do next.”

Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time world champion Emerson, first joined Haas at the end of 2018 and made his F1 debut at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix when he stood in for the injured Romain Grosjean. 

The 25-year-old Brazilian also contested that year’s season finale in Abu Dhabi as Grosjean continued his rehabilitation.

“Pietro is always around with us for a reason,” Steiner added. “The last years, we needed a reserve driver, having COVID around, so he is always around.

“He knows the team, he knows the car. To jump in for one day to the other, there is nobody better than Pietro around at the moment.”