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Fittipaldi F1 future uncertain despite "great" F1 debut - Steiner

Fittipaldi F1 future uncertain despite "great" F1 debut - Steiner

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Fittipaldi F1 future uncertain despite "great" F1 debut - Steiner

Fittipaldi F1 future uncertain despite "great" F1 debut - Steiner

Pietro Fittipaldi is yet to secure his Formula 1 future and it is uncertain whether that will be with Haas next year, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.

Brazilian driver Fittipaldi has stepped up from his reserve role to replace injured race driver Romain Grosjean in the final two races of this season, making him the third generation of his family to compete in F1.

The 24-year-old had been waiting two years for his opportunity but while he has been rewarded by two races as stand-in his contract is up at the end of the year, while both race seats have been filled by Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher.

Steiner has now revealed Fittipaldi's long wait for a permanent drive may have been to no avail. He said: "I don’t know where Pietro is going, what he is going to do next. I think he is working on it but he hasn’t sorted anything out.

“There are 20 seats and it seems like there are a lot of talented drivers. We have announced our drivers so I don’t know if he is along with us next year or if he is going to be driving in any series.”

Fittipaldi, the grandson of 73-year-old two-time former champion Emerson, finished last in Sakhir but Steiner said he "did a great job" in replacing Grosjean at such short notice.

Due to the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, Fittipaldi had no chance to get behind the wheel of the Haas for testing this season and has not been racing in any other series.

"Thinking that he drove the car last time a year ago and did not participate in any races this year, I think he did very well," added Steiner. "He just said he is not happy about just following cars and he said he will do better next time.

“He loves being in the race cars because he wasn’t doing it for a while [but] when following cars he still struggles more than [team-mate] Kevin [Magnussen], he looks at his data and just says ‘I struggle more, I need to get used to that.’.

“The most important thing he did was [complete] the whole race and didn’t put a foot wrong. Kevin is not in the top 10 anyway so if you compare it with Kevin it is respectable.”

Steiner also suggested that George Russell's impressive performance had shown how driver talent is masked by car performance further down the order, given the Briton is normally battling Haas drivers at the back of the pack.

Steiner added: “I think we saw a little bit of the reality of the drivers where we don’t know where they are. We saw with George what he could do. He goes into a world champion car and goes straight out and leads the field.

“George is a great driver but on his first race with a world championship car he is there and I would say it goes for Pietro [too]. He goes in a car after having a year [out], George raced now for two years.

"Pietro has never raced in an F1 car and is a few tenths down to our driver. That doesn’t mean our main driver is crap or Lewis Hamilton is a crap driver, it just shows how dependent drivers are on the material they are driving."

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