Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas, Yas Marina

Steiner impressed Fittipaldi sacrificed racing for Haas test deal

2019 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he is impressed Pietro Fittipaldi was prepared to sacrifice racing opportunities in 2019 to become the team’s codeformula 1 test driver.

Fittipaldi, who drove the team’s VF-18 for the first time today, accepted that taking a test role at the team would limit his chances to race elsewhere next year.

“He actually wants to do this,” said Steiner. “There’s a lot of young drivers who don’t want to do this test driver role and simulator because you’re not in the limelight.”

“I thought that was good,” he added. “You don’t find many people at that age which want to do that because they say ‘oh I need to go racing to show how good I can race’. I think he’s pretty confident that he knows how good he can race.

“I think he wants to learn about F1 and be around in the arena and learn about an F1 car and drive an F1 car because for young drivers it’s very difficult to get to drive an F1 car.

“And that’s what I committed to him. [I said] you will get test driving in the car, you’re not only going to be in the simulator because that wouldn’t be good for us because you cannot correlate to a real car.

“So he sees this as a stepping stone into F1, that is what we’re giving him. It’s better than to go into F2 racing where a lot of it depends how good your team is, how good your car is, so he tries it this way.”

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Steiner said the team had demanded Fittipaldi’s availability at the majority of race weekends this year. “I said you can race whenever you want as long as it’s not conflicting with F1 races.”

Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas, Yas Marina
Fittipaldi tested for the team today: More pictures
“I said if you want to do a few races and it conflicts we’ll find a solution for it, I don’t want to stop your career,” he added. “But if you say you only want to do 50% of the work, no, it doesn’t fly, I need to find somebody else.”

Fittipaldi won the final Formula V8 3.5 championship in 2017. A planned World Endurance Championship and IndyCar programme this year was disrupted when he broke his legs in a crash at Spa-Francorchamps.

However spending a year testing for Haas will limit Fittipaldi’s ability to score FIA superlicence points which could prevent him from being eligible to race in F1 in the future.

“That’s a problem we have to face when we get to it,” said Steiner. “He has got quite a few already because he won 3.5 so he doesn’t need a lot.”

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13 comments on “Steiner impressed Fittipaldi sacrificed racing for Haas test deal”

  1. However spending a year testing for Haas will limit Fittipaldi’s ability to score FIA superlicence points which could prevent him from being eligible to race in F1 in the future.

    I do think this exemplifies why the super licence system is too draconian.

    Not only does actually being involved with an F1 team hinder where it should help, but in his specific example, he essentially already lost a year of his career due to his injuries giving him less time to achieve the remaining points target before his FR3.5 points are lost.

    I think people in his position should be able to apply to the FIA to freeze their points for a year. A bit like deferring a university degree for a year (is the lower formula not essentially an education?)

    1. That all makes a lot of sense to me @eurbrun, have to agree.

    2. Agreed, and to be honest I’d be surprised if the FIA weren’t lenient in his case if it ever became a stumbling block. As you say, he has plenty of valid extenuating circumstances

    3. Totally agree.

      I would also think that if you have already earnt superlicence points in another category, that a test driver role in F1 should then earn you superlicence points in its own right. Surely testing in itself is worthy of that if the team is willing to let the driver out on track with all the others!

    4. Actually there’s this rule on FIA regulation page:

      “Drivers who qualify for a Super Licence but are then unable to secure an F1 racing seat get a three-year grace period in which their points are valid.”

      If I understood this right, if Pietro gets 40pts in 2019 he’ll have a period of 3 years to enter in F1. So he needs only 5 points this year, if he races in Super Formula he’ll need a 5th place in the championship.

  2. Nothing against this Fittipaldi, but at this rate the 2028 F1 grid will be formed only by ex-drivers relatives.

    1. Talk about an inspirational F1 where most of the seats would be filled by ex-driver relatives, paid drivers, academy drivers (RB), or some market F1 would be trying to attract.

    2. And sons of billionaires.

  3. Any door that opens in F1 you take it.

  4. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    27th November 2018, 21:35

    And it doesn’t even prevent poor drivers entering the sport. Jolyon Palmer got a license somehow… Stroll did too and has at times proven to be quite out of his depth

    1. Palmer entered F1 before the Super Licence rules. Stroll is a very unique case and unlikely to happen again.

    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      28th November 2018, 8:38

      Palmer won GP2 in all fairness

  5. @dieterrencken @keithcollantine

    I presumed he is the grandson of Emerson but it is interesting that you didn’t mention that in the article. Is everyone already very aware of this kid? I think this is the first time I’ve heard of him, although maybe that’s expected for those of us that only follow F1.

    On another topic, do we need some clear rules on when to post directly to you and when not to? And whether it’s okay to post to both of you? I always feel guilty when I force you to read my comment!

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