Pietro Fittipaldi says he is taking inspiration from Dale Coyne Racing teammate Sebastien Bourdais as he bids to contest the final part of the 2018 IndyCar season. 

Fittipaldi suffered a complex fracture of his lower left left leg and broken right ankle in a high-speed crash in his DragonSpeed LMP1 car during qualifying for the World Endurance Championship season-opener at Spa earlier this month. 

The 21-year-old grandson of double Formula 1 world champion and two-time Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi was due to juggle campaigns in WEC, IndyCar and Super Formula but the incident is set to rule Fittipaldi out of his racing commitments for the foreseeable future, including debut appearances at the Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

But following successful surgery, the Brazilian is determined to return to racing sooner than expected and says he has been inspired by Bourdais, who completed a remarkable recovery from pelvic and hip fractures suffered in a huge Indy 500 qualifying crash to return to the cockpit after just three months of rehabilitation. 

“I was speaking to him [Bourdais] for an hour or so,” Fittipaldi told reporters at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday. “He was telling me all about his recovery, his rehab, how he got back in around eight to 10 weeks, something like that. It's obviously very inspiring.

“I’m already weight-bearing on the left leg, which is quite early, but the doctor has been pushing me quite hard. We're already doing that here. Then getting the mobility back on the right ankle is going to be important, which we already are.”

Fittipaldi, who will be replaced by rookie Zachary Claman De Melo for the IndyCar Indy 500 on May 27 after he finished 12th in the IndyCar Grand Prix on the IMS road course, stressed his number one priority is to contest the Mid-Ohio race on July 29. 

“Now it’s my other race. Now I’m focused on getting back as fast as possible, you know, getting back to be able to do a good job. It’s good to be in the racing environment because it keeps me active. Doing these last five races are going to be very important. That’s the mentality we have most of the time.” 

Team owner Dale Coyne supported Bourdais in his recovery and confirmed Fittipaldi would see out the remainder of the 2018 IndyCar season with the squad if he returned at Mid-Ohio. 

They never believe them,” Coyne replied when asked about recovery timetable estimates given to drivers. They want to cut that number in half. He’s a racer. This is the environment he lives in. These are the people that support him. 

“You always learn. You've got to be here to learn. Every day, there's something to learn, whether he's in the pits or just a radio away, people talking to him at night or in the morning. He's going to learn every day. It's great to have him here.”

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