SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) — Romain Grosjean has been ruled out of the second Formula One race in Bahrain and will be replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi, a grandson of former F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, the Haas team said Monday.
Grosjean was hospitalized with burns on the back of both hands after his car collided with a barrier in the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday and burst into flames.
Haas said it anticipated Grosjean would be discharged Tuesday. His injuries mean he can't compete in the Sakhir Grand Prix on Sunday, the second race in Bahrain, which will use a shorter outer loop at the same venue.
“After it was decided that the best thing for Romain was to skip at least one race, the choice to put Pietro in the car was pretty easy,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said.
“Pietro will drive the VF-20 and he’s familiar with us, having been around the team for the past two seasons as a test and reserve driver. It’s the right thing to do and it’s obviously a good opportunity for him."
When Fittipaldi makes his debut, it will mark the third generation of his family to race in F1. Emerson Fittipaldi and his brother Wilson raced in the 1970s and 1980s, and Wilson's son Christian Fittipaldi drove for three seasons in the early 1990s.
Pietro Fittipaldi took part in six IndyCar races in 2018 and last raced in the Asian Formula Three championship in February. The 24-year-old Brazilian driver had a strong junior record and has experimented with different series in recent years.
“Obviously, it’s not an ideal set of circumstances to get my first opportunity to compete in Formula One, but I’m extremely grateful to (team owner) Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for their faith in putting me behind the wheel this weekend," Fittipaldi said.
"I’ve been with the team a lot this season, both trackside and working on simulator sessions, so I’m familiar with the team’s operating procedures on a grand prix weekend.”
Emerson Fittipaldi was champion in 1972 for Lotus and in 1974 for McLaren.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports