Haas will call on Pietro Fittipaldi to race for it this year if Mick Schumacher is ever required in his new role as Ferrari reserve driver.
Schumacher impressed Ferrari sufficiently in his rookie season with Haas to be named reserve for roughly half of the 2022 season, carrying out duties at events that Antonio Giovinazzi can’t attend due to his Formula E commitments. In that case, it would be Haas left with a vacancy at the last minute and team principal Guenther Steiner told RACER that Fittipaldi has proven how good he is in such a scenario.
“I’m happy for Mick and I obviously spoke about it with Mattia (Binotto, Ferrari team principal),” Steiner said. “What it means for us is that Pietro will be very happy! In the end, this is part of being a partner and part of what we agreed to do. Obviously if you have a good car and want an experienced driver, Pietro’s done a good job for us before.
“I mean, the possibility that the reserve driver gets to drive the car, if you look at the statistics they are very, very slim. But if it happens, I’m good with that.”
Steiner says Fittipaldi’s performances whenever he has been called upon to drive for Haas have earned him the right to continue to fill in when required.
“We never have to forget what he did two years ago when we put him in the race car after Romain (Grosjean) — he did a fantastic job. We can’t ask for more. We don’t need to make a big thing about who to get in — we have shown loyalty, he has shown loyalty, and that is how we work.
“We needed someone for the test in Abu Dhabi, we didn’t go out there and try to sell the test to somebody — we said Pietro is going to drive. He hung out there almost every weekend with us just to make sure we are covered if something happens, and therefore if something happens that is what we are doing.”
However, it is more likely that Robert Shwartzman will get FP1 outings this year as part of new regulations mandating teams must run rookies on at least two occasions, as part of the Ferrari tie-up.
“It will be a Ferrari driver or Pietro at the moment. I’m not trying to sell that seat. I guess it will be a Ferrari driver,” Steiner said. “We discussed it briefly, but these are things that Mattia and myself are pretty quick to agree on, we don’t need long meetings and stuff like this. This is what we do for each other as a partner, when we can help each other.”