IndyCar rookie Pietro Fittipaldi is all decked up for a return to the championship in this month’s race in Mid-Ohio after a successful comeback test on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old, who fractured both his legs in a crash during the 6 Hours of Spa weekend in the FIA World Endurance Championship driving the DragonSpeed LMP1 car, had his first on-track test at Mid-Ohio on Tuesday.
The Brazilian completed about 100 laps in his #19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda car as he went through the programme, thereby making a remarkable recovery in just over two months since his crash at Spa-Francorchamps.
In fact, Fittipaldi has declared himself ready to compete in Round 13 of the 2018 IndyCar season at Mid-Ohio during the July 27-29 weekend. “I feel like I’m back,” he said to IndyCar’s website after the test.
“Obviously, it’s the first day back in the car after two and a half months and it takes a little bit more than usual to get back up to speed. I was expecting it to take a little bit longer, but I got up to speed quickly.
“We were able to work on setup and move forward for the race weekend. We have a decent base now, and I’m ready for the race. “I’d never been injured this badly, so I didn’t know what the time frame would be.
“But everybody has been happy with how my recovery went because it’s gone really fast. Obviously, I’m really happy about that, too.” The Brazilian had to undergo surgery on his left leg and right ankle, but he was immediately on the mend after his operation.
Fittipaldi credited his uncle Max Papis and cousin Christian Fittipaldi for getting him back in shape in such a short period of time. He recalled his DCR teammate Sebastien Bourdais also had his comeback test in Mid-Ohio last year after his Indy500 crash.
The Brazilian said his fast recovery was helped with the advancement in medical industry, wherein the injured doesn’t have to wear a cast for such injuries and they could do away with a boot, which can be taken off whenever they want to.
In his absence, DCR fielded Zachary Claman De Melo and Santino Ferrucci in the selective races, but with Fittipaldi set to return, it is expected that the Brazilian will see-through the remainder of the 2018 season.
“We want to get some good results, but my main goal is really just to do my best and work as hard as I can with the team,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough. They’ve been amazing with me all season.
“I know we only did one race [in Phoenix], but throughout all the tests, I loved working with the whole Dale Coyne Racing team. We have a good package. I want go and get good results – top-fives, hopefully a podium.
“You never know what can happen. I’m here and I want to push as hard as I can. I’ve got these five races, and I’m going to give them all I can.” While he is ready for his IndyCar return, it remains to be seen if he competes in Super Formula and WEC as well.