Fittipaldi to replace injured Grosjean at Sakhir Grand Prix

Grosjean still smiling in thank-you message (0:30)

Romain Grosjean gives a smiley thank you to everyone who is supporting him and sending him messages. (0:30)

Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time F1 champion and Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, will drive for Haas in place of the injured Romain Grosjean at this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix.

Grosjean is still in hospital after sustaining burns on both hands in a scary crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The French driver is expected to be discharged on Tuesday.

However, he will not be ready to compete in Sunday's race, which takes place at a different configuration of the Bahrain International Circuit, handing an F1 debut to Fittipaldi. The Brazilian driver has been affiliated to Haas since 2019, when he was named its test driver.

Haas did not confirm whether Grosjean will be able to contest the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 13. With Grosjean set to leave Haas at the end of the season that event could well be his final F1 race.

The race will provide a hugely unexpected opportunity to Fittipaldi, 24, who won the Formula Renault championship in 2014 and Formula v8 3.5 in 2017. He was set for a joint campaign in IndyCar and the World Endurance Championship in 2018 before he broke his leg in a crash while practicing for the Six Hours of Spa.

Fittipaldi said: "Most importantly I'm happy Romain is safe and healthy. We're all very happy his injuries are relatively minor after such a huge incident.

"Obviously, it's not an ideal set of circumstances to get my first opportunity to compete in Formula 1, but I'm extremely grateful to Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for their faith in putting me behind the wheel this weekend. I've been with the team a lot this season, both trackside and working on simulator sessions, so I'm familiar with the team's operating procedures on a grand prix weekend.

"It's going to be exciting to make my first career start in Formula 1 -- I'll be giving it my all and I look forward to starting in free practice on Friday in Bahrain."