Deletraz and Fittipaldi appointed Haas reserves and eSports drivers

The Haas team has confirmed Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz as test reserve drivers, and while the world is in lockdown because of COVID-19, the pair have also been roped into representing the American team in the virtual Grand Prix races being hosted by Formula 1.

The pair will join Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean in the team.

Press release:

Haas F1 Team has confirmed Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Delétraz as the team’s official test and reserve drivers. Both have conducted extensive simulator work for the American squad throughout the 2019 season while both made their F1 driving debuts behind the wheel of the team’s VF-18 at a Pirelli tire test in Abu Dhabi back in November 2018.

Fittipaldi and Delétraz will support the team in the simulator and trackside at Grand Prix events 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 F1 Team in the next installment of Formula One’s Esports Virtual Grand Prix series – hosted online on Sunday 5 April.

Fittipaldi (23) spent the 2019 season in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) – the Miami-born Brazilian holds a resume which includes a Formula V8 3.5 Championship title and IndyCar Series competition. Delétraz (22) 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,” stated team principal Guenther Steiner.

“Pietro (Fittipaldi) and Louis (Delétraz) 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 F1 Team. 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 (Grosjean) and Kevin (Magnussen) and the whole engineering team with the Haas VF-20.”

Fittipaldi – a grandson of two-time FIA Formula One World Champion and double Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, drove the Haas VF-19 last season in tests in Spain, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, commented; “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 F1 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 kilometers 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 F1 is another step along the way to reaching my ultimate goal of competing in F1,” said Louis Delétraz.

“I made my debut in a F1 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.”