Fittipaldi aims for IndyCar return alongside F1 reserve role

Pietro Fittipaldi, currently subbing for Romain Grosjean in the Haas Formula 1 team, is hoping to return to IndyCar in 2021 while remaining as a reserve driver in F1

Fittipaldi aims for IndyCar return alongside F1 reserve role

The 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion ran six races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2018, but had his schedule disrupted by a heavy crash in a World Endurance Championship car at Spa that left Fittipaldi with broken legs.

That meant he missed the Indianapolis 500 and was driving in considerable pain when he returned to IndyCar in July.

Despite this, late in the season, he was named as test and reserve driver for Haas F1, combining this with DTM and F3 Asia drives.

Following Grosjean's horror accident in Bahrain, Fittipaldi was drafted into Haas' race seat alongside Kevin Magnussen for the final two rounds of the 2020 F1 season.

"I am using this opportunity to help me secure deals for next season," the 24-year-old Brazilian responded to Autosport's questioning.

"For sure, I would like the opportunity one day to come back as race driver.

"I know for next year that's not possible. I'd like to still keep a foot in Formula 1. But you know, if I can keep a foot in Formula 1 and race IndyCar or something - that would be my ideal scenario.

"That'll be really a dream for me. That would be great. But... who knows if an opportunity comes in the following years for me to come back and race in Formula 1?

"I really enjoyed it. I'm going to miss it now. I'm a little spoiled because now I raced in Formula 1 and I want to come back...

"The only possible role I can have in Formula 1 next year, since there aren't really any race drives available, would be to continue as a reserve driver.

"So for sure I'd be open to continue with Haas. I haven't spoken to Gunther [Steiner, team principal] about it yet. That depends a lot on what I'm racing.

"I have to prioritize the comeback to racing full time next season. But like I said, I want to still stay in Formula 1.

"And in IndyCar? It is a goal for next year. In fact, I raced in IndyCar before, I adapted well to the car, we had top 10 finishes, when I was racing injured. So, I know I can do well there. And it's a great series with great drivers.

"So if I can get the opportunity to race there next year and still be in Formula 1, it would be the ideal situation."

The opportunities are closing within IndyCar, however. Although not all of Andretti Autosport's deals have yet been announced, Michael Andretti is focused on keeping the same five drivers he ran at the end of last season, while fellow team owner Ed Carpenter told Autosport that his priority is to retain Conor Daly and the U.S. Air Force sponsorship to again partner Rinus VeeKay in 2021.

A.J. Foyt, for whom Sebastien Bourdais has been signed for several months, need a paying driver in the second seat, and the same is true of Carlin.

That would suggest that Fittipaldi could return to Coyne, who is currently keeping several options open since Alex Palou has departed for Ganassi and Santino Ferrucci is apparently undecided.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Pietro Fittipaldi
Author David Malsher
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