Haas Formula 1 reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will race the IndyCar oval events this year for Dale Coyne Racing, subbing in for Romain Grosjean, who is only doing the road and street courses.
The 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion contested six events as an IndyCar rookie with Dale Coyne in 2018, scoring a best result of ninth at Portland.
He had been due to race the Indy 500 in 2018 before a World Endurance Championship crash at Spa left him recovering from two broken legs and curtailed his programme in IndyCar that year.
He contested the DTM in 2019 before working more closely with Haas the following year, where he replaced Grosjean for the Sakhir Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi race while Grosjean was recovering from his injuries following a fiery crash at Bahrain.
Grosjean is driving the number 51 entry – coincidentally the number Fittipaldi used in his F1 races last year – for the Rick Ware Racing-backed Dale Coyne entry.
“I’m very happy to be racing the ovals this season in the No. 51 car for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR,” said Fittipaldi.
“I’m especially excited for the Indianapolis 500. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to race in the Indy 500.
“All of Dale’s cars were competitive there last year and the last few years, and we’re looking to do the same this year.
“I’m also very happy to be sharing the car with Romain. He’s a good friend of mine.
“Over the years at Haas F1 we’ve become friends and it’s great to be team-mates with him again.
“Coincidentally the No. 51 is the same number I used in my Formula 1 debut last year so it’s a nice coincidence to have.
“I’ve worked with some of the guys at Dale Coyne Racing in the past so I’m happy to be working with them once again. I’m sure we’ll able to do great things. I’m really looking forward to it!”
Dale Coyne added: “We enjoyed working with Pietro in 2018, it’s unfortunate that his season was shorter than planned, so it’s great to be able to give him another chance to do some races in the NTT IndyCar Series and that he has another chance to participate in the Indy 500 and fulfill one of his childhood dreams.
“We look forward to seeing him share our #51 entry alongside his former Haas F1 teammate Romain Grosjean, it gives us a strong line up for our full-time entry.”
Grosjean had said that he may be open to racing at Gateway – a short oval – this year.
However, the press release announcing Fittipaldi joining the team claims he’ll drive in four races, which likely means no oval of any size for Grosjean in 2021 – with the two Texas races, Indianapolis and Gateway all now filled by Fittipaldi.
Fittipaldi is the grandson of the double Indy 500 winner and double F1 champion Emerson.
Pietro’s brother Enzo is also competing in America this year after leaving the Ferrari Driver Academy. He will race for Andretti Autosport in the Indy Pro 2000 series on the Road to Indy.
Grosjean and Fittipaldi will race alongside Ed Jones in the other full-time, Vasser Sullivan-backed Dale Coyne IndyCar entry, while a third car will appear at the Indianapolis 500 and other select events.
The third car is expected to be driven by James Davison as it was last year, while Rick Ware’s son Cody could contest multiple other events in the car, having tested the machine recently.