Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean remains in the Bahrain Defense Force hospital on Monday following his miraculous exit from his fiery Haas F1 Team car at the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.
Grosjean’s car became engulfed in flames when he hit, and partially broke through, a barrier in Turn 3 of the Bahrain International Circuit. The team announced on Monday that Grosjean continues to recover from burns on the backs of both hands and that he is expected to be released on Tuesday.
Grosjean, however, will not be in the Haas car this coming weekend for the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain. The team instead will turn to reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi to drive Grosjean’s car. This will mark the first time Grosjean has not been in a Haas car for a race since he crashed out on the way to the grid for the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos in 2016.
Fittipaldi, 24, is the grandson of two-time F1 champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi. Pietro Fittipaldi previously tested for Haas in both 2018 and 2019. This weekend’s race weekend in Bahrain will mark time that Fittipaldi will race in the team’s VF-20 car.
“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,” said Haas team principal Guenther Steiner. “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 will be the first reserve driver to actually see race action since Paul di Resta was called on to make an emergency start for the Williams F1 team after Felipe Massa became ill during the F1 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
“Most importantly I’m happy Romain (Grosjean) is safe and healthy,” said Fittipaldi. “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.”
Admit it, you’ve never seen an exit like the one Romain Grosjean made in Bahrain on Sunday. Join in the Romain Grosjean discussion in the comments section below.
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