Haas rookie Pietro Fittipaldi was ecstatic to be back behind the wheel of an F1 car on Friday, hailing an “exciting” opening day of running at Sakhir.
The 24-year-old Brazilian – the grandson of F1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi and the fourth member of his famous family to race in F1 – was called upon by Haas to replace the injured Romain Grosjean for this weekend’s second round of racing in Bahrain.
Haas’ Pietro Fittipaldi is set to take a grid penalty for this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix, after his power unit was installed with fresh components that exceeds the penalty-free tally for the season.
Fittipaldi has been called up by Haas to replace the injured Romain Grosjean for the weekend, and as a result, took over his power unit allocation.
The car’s power unit was fitted with a third Energy Store and third Control Electronics overnight, which exceeds the quota of two that can be used across a season without implications.
No other car on the grid has been fitted with new components overnight, meaning Fittipaldi is set to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid, as the penalty exceeds a drop of 15 places.
Fittipaldi ended Friday’s second practice session in 18th place ahead of fellow debutant Jack Aitken and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who failed to set a lap time.
“It was one year since I’ve driven the F1 car, eight months since I’ve driven anything and I came out here and took it step-by-step,” Fittipaldi said of his Friday in Sakhir.
“But it’s crazy you know, you’re on the big stage now. This is the big league!
“So you go out for FP1 and it’s different because it’s a bunch of cameras and everyone filming and taking pictures, so you’ve just got to keep focused and keep calm.”
Haas has not yet indicated if Fittipaldi will be in the car at next weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, where Grosjean could return for his final race with the team.
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THE NEXT RACE 2021
|02:00 - 03:30||Free practice 1|
|06:00 - 07:30||Free practice 2|
|04:00 - 05:00||Free practice 3|
|07:00 - 07:18||Qualifying|
|06:10 - 08:10||Race|