Fittipaldi and Deletraz to share Haas test and reserve roles for 2020
Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz will expand their roles at Haas for 2020, with the team announcing that the pair will share test and reserve duties for the American squad when the season gets underway.
Twenty-three-year-old Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson, spent 2019 as Haas’ test driver alongside his DTM and Asian Formula 3 racing programme, while F2 racer Deletraz was the team’s simulator driver.
But both drivers will now step up to test and reserve duties for Haas, supporting the team both in the sim and at the track – while it’s also expected that the pair will represent Haas in the next instalment of F1’s Virtual Grand Prix Series, hosted online on Sunday April 5.
“Naturally, we had intended to make this announcement over the course of the Australian Grand Prix to start the season,” said Haas Team Principal Guenther Stiner, “but events both there and globally took priority with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
“Pietro and Louis have both proven themselves to us over the past 12 months and we’re delighted to confirm them both as official test and reserve drivers for Haas F1 Team. Their work in the simulator was undoubtedly of value as we faced our challenges last season, and we’re excited to continue to present them with further opportunities to expand their relationship with the team in 2020 when we can return to work.”
“You never stop learning in Formula 1, whether you’re spending hours in the simulator or physically behind the wheel of the actual car – something I’ve done a lot of with Haas recording over 2,000 kilometres in testing,” said Fittipaldi, who drove Haas’ VF-19 last season in tests in Spain, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. “I can’t wait to build on the role I developed with Haas F1 Team last season.”
“To be an official test and reserve driver in Formula One is another step along the way to reaching my ultimate goal of competing in Formula One,” said Deletraz. “I made my debut in a Formula One car with Haas F1 Team and I’m naturally thrilled that we have developed that opportunity, as well as my simulator work last season, into an official role as a test and reserve driver.”
It remains to be seen how much seat time either Fittipaldi or Deletraz will be afforded in the new Haas VF-20, meanwhile, with the 2020 season have been truncated by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. That means that time in the car – which Haas will, like all other teams, have to race again in 2021 – will be precious for main drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.