Pietro Fittipaldi will carry out two half-days of testing for Haas during the first pre-season test in Barcelona next week.
Haas has stuck with the same line-up of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen for 2019, but added Fittipaldi as a test driver toward the end of last year. The Brazilian drove in the Pirelli tire test after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and has now been entrusted with half a day of running on Wednesday and Thursday in Spain.
“I’m really looking forward to the test,” Fittipaldi said. “I got to test the 2018 car at the end of last year and now I get to try the 2019 car in pre-season testing. Any time you get to drive a Formula 1 car, it’s something you really look forward to.
“The main focus on the test will be to assist the team to develop the car as much as possible before the first race of the season. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of test items the team will want to go through. We’ll want to see how reliable the new car is — I’m sure we’ll be aiming for a lot of miles.
“The goal at the end of the day, as a driver, is to go as fast as possible, to drive the car as fast as you can, but it’s also to give the team really good feedback. That’s crucial to the development of the car before the first race.”
Fittipaldi has been carrying out extensive simulator work over the winter and team principal Guenther Steiner says it is important he is able to compare that model to the actual car on track.
“To have Pietro in the car is a big element for our simulator work,” Steiner said. “We’re always trying to improve that. We need to have him in the car to validate if the simulator program is going well or not. This is vital to our program going forward.”
Haas is giving the VF19 its first track run on Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with a shakedown taking place during a filming day.