Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Pietro Fittipaldi

Pietro Fittipaldi and cardboard figure Kevin Magnussen

If you're not familiar with the name Pietro Fittipaldi, (center of photo above) you've likely heard the last of name Fittipaldi before, because his grandfather Emerson Fittipaldi won the F1 world championship twice, he won the Indy 500 twice, and he won the CART season championship once! If you've seen the great Ron Howard movie "Rush" you might recall that it was Fittipaldi leaving the McLaren F1 team that opened the door for James Hunt to drive the McLaren the next year and win the championship!

Pietro has raced a few times in F1 as the backup for former Haas driver Romain Grosjean when he had a fiery crash two years ago. This week Pietro is in the news because he will be one of the test drivers for the Haas F1 Team Thursday-Saturday in Bahrain. He received this promotion when Haas decided to let go their Russian driver Nikita Mazepin. Mazepin's father's company sponsored the Haas team last year and was set to continue this year, up until the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

We know Pietro will be driving  this week, and it was just announced that for Mazepin's seat for the full season we will see the return of former Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen (cardboard version of him in the above photo on the right.)

Oh, and about this photo; when we went to the F1 race in Austin Texas in 2019, we were walking past the "Haas Hill" and saw Pietro in his backup roll doing some interviews, and managed to get this photo of him. It almost looks like he's in between then Haas drivers Grosjean (obscured by the camera on the left) and Kevin Magnussen, but those are two cardboard cutouts, while Pietro is real!

At that 2019 race in Austin, Kevin's car had a brake issue and he went straight off at turn 12 where we were sitting, so he was out of the race a few laps before the finish. Photo above, he's out of the car and checking the car. No injuries, but even the pros have cars break down. 

I'm hoping the Haas team has a successful year, scores a bunch of points, and moves up from their  last place finish of 2021.  

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