Santino Ferrucci insists his aim is still to race in Formula 1 despite being confirmed as driving the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series at the Dual in Detroit.
The Haas F1 development driver will make his debut as a result of Pietro Fittipaldi being ruled out through injury. It is understood that Zachary Claman De Melo gave up his planned drive in Detroit in order to replace Fittipaldi at the Indy 500 this month, and Ferrucci will now step in but says it is not as part of a switch in his career path.
“My long-term goal is still Formula 1, it’s still where I want to be,” Ferrucci said. “This is an opportunity to show a little bit more of my potential and to try some different cars and see how I react with an IndyCar, but I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Ferrucci has completed over 1000 miles of F1 testing with Haas over the past two years and currently races in Formula 2 alongside fellow Haas youngster Arjun Maini at Trident. The 19-year-old will race in Monaco next weekend before returning to the U.S. to test the No. 19 car at Putnam Park ahead of the Detroit double-header.
The move comes with the blessing of Haas team principal Guenther Steiner, who Ferrucci says sees the benefit of the added seat time between F2 rounds in Monaco on May 24-26 and Paul Ricard on June 22-24.
“I spoke a little bit with Guenther and he’s all for it,” Ferrucci said. “Obviously it’s another opportunity to drive another single-seater car, and seat time and testing in Formula 2 is very limited. This is a double-header weekend in Detroit, so I get to be in the car a lot and I get to work with the team a lot and understand.
“It’s always good to have the vast majority of things underneath your belt for experience, so I’m very excited for it.”
Ferrucci’s appearance will be the second time a Haas-linked driver has made their debut for Coyne at Belle Isle in consecutive years, with former Haas racer Esteban Gutierrez taking part in his first IndyCar race a year ago.