Fittipaldi replaces Grosjean for Sakhir GP

30th November 2020
Seán Ward

Following his terrifying accident at the Bahrain GP in which he sustained burns to his hands, Haas driver Romain Grosjean will sit out the Sakhir GP this weekend. Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas reserve driver and grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, will make his F1 debut in his place.


The very fact that Grosjean survived his accident is testament to the safety of modern Formula 1 cars, but with burns to his hands Haas F1 has announced Grosjean will not be able to race again this weekend. Pietro Fittipaldi will take Grosjean’s seat, making his F1 debut after having been the Haas reserve since 2018, and having completed a number of tests with the team.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said: “After it was decided that the best thing for Romain (Grosjean) was to skip at least one race, the choice to put Pietro (Fittipaldi) in the car was pretty easy.

“Pietro will drive the VF-20 and he’s familiar with us having been around the team for the past two seasons as a test and reserve driver. It’s the right thing to do and it’s obviously a good opportunity for him. He’s been patient and was always prepared for this opportunity – and now it has come. That’s why we want him in the car and I’m sure he’ll do a good job. It’s very demanding being called in at the last minute, but as I said, I think it’s the right thing to do for Haas F1 Team.”


Fittipaldi has said he is grateful to be making his F1 debut but, understandably, more grateful that Grosjean is well: “Most importantly I’m happy Romain (Grosjean) is safe and healthy. We’re all very happy his injuries are relatively minor after such a huge incident.

Obviously, it’s not an ideal set of circumstances to get my first opportunity to compete in Formula 1, but I’m extremely grateful to Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for their faith in putting me behind the wheel this weekend. I’ve been with the team a lot this season, both trackside and working on simulator sessions, so I’m familiar with the team’s operating procedures on a grand prix weekend. It’s going to be exciting to make my first career start in Formula 1 – I’ll be giving it my all and I look forward to starting in free practice on Friday in Bahrain.”

The Sakhir Grand Prix will be held at the Bahrain International Circuit, the same venue as the Bahrain GP but with a different track layout. Measuring 2.201 miles (3.543km), only longer than the Monaco GP circuit by the length of a football pitch, there will be 87 laps of the ‘Outer Track Layout’ on Sunday 6th December. The traditional track layout used this past weekend has featured on the F1 calendar every year since 2010, but the Outer layout has never been used before in F1.

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

  • F1 2020

  • Formula 1

  • Pietro Fittipaldi

  • Romain Grosjean

  • Haas

  • Bahrain

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