Pietro Fittipaldi leaves NASCAR racing to follow in grandfather's footsteps to F1

Backed by the world's richest man, grandson of Emerson will trade a promising career in the U.S. at age 16 to compete in single-seaters.

After the passage of Emerson, Wilsinho and Christian, the Fittipaldi clan may have one more representative in Formula 1 in the near future. At 16, Pietro has started a promising career in motorsport by U.S. seaters, with the goal of achieving the top category of motorsport in the world. Pietro will compete in both the F4 and Formula Renault UK series, two championships that are part of the F1 ladder system. Winner of a regional division of Nascar in 2011, the Limited Late Model, the boy will have an incentive to trade the oval tracks of NASCAR and head to Europe: the financial support of Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world through support of its telecommunications group. Pietro attended a pilot training project similar to what launched Mexican drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez into F1.

Pietro Fittipaldi, Hickory Speedway Track Champion in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series
Pietro Fittipaldi, Hickory Speedway Track Champion in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series

Photo by: Scott LePage

The relationship with his grandfather, who besides winning two World in F1 (1972 and 1974), also won the IndyCar title twice and won the legendary Indianapolis 500 on two occasions(1989 and 1993), is of mutual admiration. Experienced, Emerson tries to impart his knowledge to his grandson, but also works with the psychological side of racing with the youngster. According to Pietro, the change was not a requirement.

"He also likes NASCAR, but this is an opportunity. He did some training with me, always calls to calm me before the races, it's pretty cool," said Pietro Fittipaldi who, despite his age, is not intimidated by speed. After all, he is used to power of up to 400 horsepower in NASCAR models.

Born in Miami, the heir of a surname with so much history does not hide his ambitions to continue the Brazilian legacy of top racers. As of today, he's only race in Brazil twice, in 2011 and 2013, the two most recent editions of the Challenge of the Stars karting in Santa Catarina.

"I live in the U.S., but always speak to my father. And the Brazilian public always asks me for autograph more than in the U.S., so I feel much more at home in Brazil," highlights the promising young Brazilian.

Pietro's first challenge will be in the Formula Renault UK, on ​​13 and 14 April at Donington Park. The category is composed of 16 races over weekends. Two weeks later, Pietro debut in F4 at Silverstone. The championship will feature eight rounds of three races, totaling 24 races. There is one conflict on the calendar between the two tournaments, just in the finals, both scheduled for 28 and 29 September. Thus, the youngster will need to decide which of the competitions he should prioritize when approaching the scheduled dates.

If Pietro comes to Formula 1, he will be the first third-generation racer that series has ever seen. So far, the family to come closest to this mark were the Andrettis. Champion in 1978 with the Lotus, Mario's son Michael ran alongside Ayrton Senna at McLaren in 1993. In early 2007, the two returned to the pits of an F1 team to accompany a young Marco Andretti, son of Michael, to test for the Honda team. However, the Japanese team opted to keep Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello at the time.

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello , Ayrton Senna , Marco Andretti , Sergio Perez , Esteban Gutierrez , Pietro Fittipaldi
Article type Breaking news
Tags brazil, emerson, fittipaldi, nascar