Gene Haas has confirmed Pietro Fittipaldi will drive for his team at this week's second F1 test in Bahrain but that "several candidates" are in the frame as the long-term replacement for Nikita Mazepin.
Following a week of speculation, Haas took a decision over the weekend to terminate Mazepin's contract and completely sever its links with Uralkali, the Russian company owned by the driver's father Dmitry that was sponsoring the team.
The move followed Russia's globally condemned invasion of Ukraine that initially forced Haas to remove all branding and associated Russian logos from the cars and trucks ahead of the final day of the first pre-season test in Barcelona.
It is not a surprise Fittipaldi steps in for three days at the Sakhir Internationa Circuit this week, however, Haas has suggested he would prefer a driver with more experience going forward.
“We’re in the process of looking at several candidates, we’ll see who is available and what we have to deal with, but we’ll have somebody by Wednesday,” Haas told the Associated Press.
"Pietro will definitely be in it, that’s what he’s for, he’s the test driver.
“I think we’re looking. I think we’d obviously like to get someone with a bit more actual experience. We just have to see what’s available.”
Haas financially "fine"
Haas has further confirmed he had to act to safeguard the team, which he also insists is secure financially despite the fact it is no longer supported by the Mazepins.
“There was a lot of intense criticism about the Ukrainian invasion and it was just getting overwhelming," added Haas.
"We can’t deal with all that, our other sponsors can’t deal with all that.
“[Financially] We’re good. We’re fine. We’d like more money, of course, but we’re fine. This just gives us a bigger negative number.”