It’s now been confirmed that the American-owned F1 team Haas has terminated the contracts they had with Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and its main sponsor Uralkali as Russia continues its attack on Ukraine. Fans were pleased to see this happen, and now fans will again be pleased to see who will be replacing him.
Pietro Fittipaldi will be driving alongside teammate Mick Schumacher after being a reserve driver for Haas, and the two will make their first appearance together at Bahrain testing later this week. This won’t be the first time Pietro has been called forward as he took the wheel in 2021 after Romain Grosjean recovered from his frightening crash during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
This may all change, however, as team owner Gene Haas worries about not having an experienced racing driver on the team. This hasn’t stopped them before though, obviously.
Talking to Associated Press, Haas confirmed his decision to bring in Fittipaldi for testing:
“We’re in the process of looking at several candidates, we’ll see who is available and what we have to deal with, but we’ll have somebody by Wednesday
“Pietro will definitely be in it, that’s what he’s for, he’s the test driver.”
Another potential driver for Haas is Antonio Giovinazzi, who fell from a seat at the Formula E after Alfa Romeo dropped him at the end of the season last year. He is currently in the Ferrari Juniour Academy, and is looking to become a reserve driver for the Italian team.
Team boss Haas also talked about the “overwhelming” pressures of being involved with Russia:
“There was a lot of intense criticism about the Ukrainian invasion and it was just getting overwhelming.
“We can’t deal with all that, our other sponsors can’t deal with all that.”
Without a main sponsor, the team will obviously lose the majority of its income, but Haas is sure that they have the resources to overcome this issue:
“Haas has always been the major, primary sponsor, I don’t know why people said it became a Russian team. Haas Automation was always on the car.
“We’re good. We’re fine. We’d like more money, of course, but we’re fine.
“This just gives us a bigger negative number.”