Haas has today confirmed Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz as its official test and reserve drivers. Both conducted extensive simulator work for the American squad throughout the 2019 season while both made their F1 driving debuts behind the wheel of the VF-18 at the Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi back in November 2018.
Fittipaldi and Deletraz will support the team in the simulator and trackside at Grands Prix when the 2020 Formula One season proceeds having been delayed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, it is expected that both drivers will represent Haas in the next instalment of Formula One’s Esports Virtual Grand Prix series – hosted online on Sunday 5 April.
Fittipaldi spent the 2019 season in DTM – the Miami-born Brazilian holds a resume which includes a Formula V8 3.5 Championship title and IndyCar Series competition.
Deletraz will again compete in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Charouz Racing System – the Swiss racer aiming to build on his three podium finishes and eighth place championship standing in 2019.
“Naturally, we had intended to make this announcement over the course of the Australian Grand Prix to start the season, but events both there and globally took priority with the on-going COVID-19 outbreak,” said team principal Guenther Steiner. “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.
“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. I look forward to them adding significant input into our own race program supporting Romain and Kevin and the whole engineering team with the Haas VF-20.”
Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula One champion and double Indy 500 winner, Emerson Fittipaldi, drove the Haas VF-19 last season in tests in Spain, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, said; “I can’t wait to build on the role I developed with Haas F1 Team last season. My thanks go to Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for the continued opportunity and belief in my work behind the wheel. You never stop learning in Formula One 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 2000 kilometres in testing. It’s a thrill to be able to do both and have the association with this team and all it’s accomplished in such a short span of time in our sport.”
“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,” added 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. I would like to thank Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for adding me to the program in this capacity.
“The bonus for me is that with Formula 2 on the support bill at a variety of Grand Prix events, I know they will get to see me race and I can spend more time embedding myself with the team when the timetable allows.”