Pietro Fittipaldi recently took Haas‘s VF-23 for a spin, split into two sessions to test both dry and wet tire compounds for the upcoming 2024 season. Astoundingly, he covered nearly 700 kilometers, over double the distance of a standard race.
This was Fittipaldi’s inaugural outing in the VF-23, as Nico Hulkenberg had been Haas‘s focus in the pre-season trials. “It was a very good test,” shared Fittipaldi. “I drove an F1 car for the first time at Silverstone and it was sensational.”
The Brazilian driver continued: “We completed almost 700 kilometers, so it was many, many laps. But I prepared myself very well, physically. Since last year I have been working very hard physically to drive the car without problems for this amount of laps.”
Fittipaldi further remarked how the unique style of the F1 cars aligns with his driving technique. This synergy, he claimed, boosted his confidence and made for an impressive session. He also appreciated the opportunity to try out the Pirelli tyres sans the blankets. Fittipaldi closed on a thankful note, expressing his gratitude towards Haas for the opportunity.
Gunther Steiner, Haas‘s team principal, lauded Fittipaldi’s unwavering dedication to the team since 2019. Steiner highlighted his two Grand Prix starts in 2020 and commended his LMP2 category win at Monza in the last round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“First of all, congratulations to Pietro for winning the LMP2 category [of the WEC] in Monza,” said Steiner. While acknowledging the Brazilian hadn’t driven the VF-23 previously due to Nico Hulkenberg‘s pre-season testing, Steiner emphasized the need of preparing Fittipaldi for any contingencies.
“As soon as we could, we had Pietro in the car because as we all know he is our reserve driver, so should something happen to our driver, he will be in the car,” explained Steiner. He stressed the goal was to provide the best possible conditions for Fittipaldi.
Valuing his consistency and reliability, Steiner applauded Fittipaldi for being loved by both the engineers and Pirelli. The team principal further appreciated the driver’s motivation and readiness to jump into an F1 car when required. He summed up noting, “He’s doing a great job and we are very thankful to have Pietro around.”