Fittipaldi: I honestly thought it was a joke

Pietro Fittipaldi was out watching the action on track during the second day of preseason testing at Circuit de Catalunya when his phone rang, Haas needed him to replace Kevin Magnussen for the late afternoon session as the Dane had a ‘seat-fit issue’ that impaired his vision.

The 22-year-old grandson of the great Emerson Fittipaldi subsequently took over the black and gold car and did 13 laps in the little time allocated, nevertheless they were important laps at a time when mileage is sacred and thus the more the merrier.

It also gave Fittipaldi a chance to get acquainted with VF19 which he also tested the day after his unexpected call-up, “I was really surprised. At four o’clock, I was going to go watch at turn one and the sun was directly in my eyes so I thought I’d stop by the engineers’ room to get my sunglasses.”

“One of the engineers said to me ‘so are you ready to get into the car’ and I was like ‘yeah, I’m ready to get in tomorrow’, but he said ‘no, you need to get in now!”

“Initially, I honestly thought it was a joke, but he had to say to me ‘no seriously, you’re getting in the car now’. I got dressed as quickly as I could, the team did a great job to change my seat quickly and make sure I was as comfortable in the car as possible.”

“It was really great, probably the best surprise I’ve had. For sure it helped, manly with the seat position and pedals. When you make a seat and pedals it’s 100 per cent, you can start pushing and nothing really changes, but you never know.”

“Sometimes you have to make an adjustment and we had to make one yesterday so it was good to get that run to make sure today we started the morning pushing.

“A Formula 1 car is always a fantastic car to drive, and the car feels really good. I’m really happy, but I’m obviously still gaining experience in a Formula 1 car, gaining more miles, but the car felt really good so I was happy with that.”

“We went through the run plan we wanted to, so I was really happy with the morning,” added Fittipaldi who added 61 laps to his Formula 1 CV.