Haas F1 stand-in for the remaining two rounds of 2020, Pietro Fittipaldi, says his brief F1 outings have done wonders to reignite his career.
The Brazilian Fittipaldi, who was born in Miami, suffered a WEC crash at Spa in 2018, after which his career stagnated. He would only race in DTM and in the F3 Asian Championship in 2019, before abstaining from motorsports in 2020 until being called upon to replace the injured Romain Grosjean.
Fittipaldi stepped into the Haas F1 seat for the Sakhir GP, doing well to stay in contention and being widely praised for his promising improvements in the race weekend. Though perhaps less memorable, his performance in the subsequent Abu Dhabi GP was also appreciated.
Fittipaldi says his time in the “spotlight,” and strong performances have proved a boon to his moribund career, particularly in a season during which in-person networking has become a near-impossibility. “It’s very important,” he said to media including F1, Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, BBC, Reuters and more.
“I can use this as the biggest stage of racing. So you’re in the spotlight here. So this is where you want to do your best, you know? And, yeah, with the COVID, it’s been harder to go to different paddocks to meet with people. But the technology nowadays, everything can be done through a call or emails and things. So yeah, it hasn’t changed much in that sense.
“But I am using this opportunity to help me secure deals for next season. For sure, I would like the opportunity one day to come back as race driver. I know for next year that’s not possible. I’d like to still keep a foot in Formula 1. But if I can keep foot in F1 and race IndyCar or something. That would be my ideal scenario. That’ll be really a dream for me.
“That would be great. But who knows if an opportunity comes in the following years for me to come back and race in Formula 1? I really enjoyed it. I’m going to miss it now. I’m a little spoiled, I think, now, because now I raced in Formula 1 and I want to come back. So now it’s going to be off season after this, but yeah,” Fittipaldi said.
The 24-year-old has been tied to a seat in IndyCar, and did not reject the proposition as one who raced in the series in 2018. He said, “In IndyCar? Yeah, it is. It is a goal for 2021. In fact, I raced in IndyCar before, I adopted well to the car, we had top 10 finishes when I was racing injured. So, I know I can do well there.
“And it’s a great series with great drivers. So if I can get the opportunity to race there next year and still be in Formula 1, it would be the ideal situation,” said Fittipaldi. Likewise, he did not rule out WEC or Formula E, both of which he expressed interest in after his brief performance in F1.
“[There are] other things that would interest me as I’m looking at WEC as well,” said Fittipaldi. “That’s a series that I think in the future could, you know, now with the hypercar and new regulations, I think there’s gonna be manufacturers coming into it. So that’s something that I’m looking to get into. It as a possible option for next year as well. And also Formula E. I mean, I did a lot of testing and development work for Jaguar in Formula E for about a season and a half, basically, two seasons, and tested twice with them.
“I was second in the rookie test the first time I tested with them, and I tested the gen one and gen two car. So I adapted well to the Formula E car two. And I know Formula E is now going to start. You know, the Formula E is definitely something that I would also look at, and like I said, WEC is something we’re looking at also for next year,” summed up Fittipaldi.
After winning the MRF Challenge in 2015/16, Fittipaldi found success in World Series Formula V8 3.5 in 2017, after which he raced in IndyCar with Dale Coyne Racing and WEC with DragonSpeed. As mentioned above, he then had a full year in DTM and F3 Asia, alongside his Haas F1 role but didn’t race anything in 2020.
Here’s Pietro Fittipaldi on Romain Grosjean
Here’s our tier system of driver performance
Here’s the drivers’ Top 10 of F1 2020
Here’s F1 stats difference from 2019 to 2020