Fittipaldi to miss Motegi, could return for Suzuka finale
Pietro Fittipaldi will skip the next Super Formula race at Motegi but remains open to competing in the title decider at Suzuka later this year.
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Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula 1 champion Emerson, was due to take part in all but two Super Formula races that didn’t clash with his original, seven-race IndyCar programme.
However, a high-speed crash during the Spa WEC round has forced him to alter his IndyCar schedule, the Brazilian now taking part in the remaining five rounds of the American open-wheel championship.
This would mean that he will have to skip the Motegi Super Formula race as it takes place on the same weekend as IndyCar’s Pocono round, and his participation in the Okayama SF event also remains in doubt.
“The next race [Okayama] doesn’t clash with an IndyCar race but it almost clashes with IndyCar testing at Sonoma,” Fittipaldi told Motorsport.com.
“My initial schedule before the accident would have allowed me to do both IndyCar and Super Formula but now it is more complicated.
“The last two races at Suzuka I can definitely do because they’re at the end of October, but the team hasn’t let me know about Okayama.”
Fittipaldi will be replaced at Motegi by Tom Dillmann, who has been standing in for the 22-year-old for the last three races and secured a fourth place at Sugo in May.
Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi will also be forced to miss the Motegi race due to their own clashing commitments in the FIA World Endurance Championship, where they compete for Toyota in the LMP1 class.
2010 Super Formula champion and three-time Motegi race winner Joao Paulo de Oliveira has been drafted in as Nakajima’s replacement at TOM’S, the Brazilian making a return to the series for the first time since the end of the 2016 season.
KCMG, meanwhile, has called in former Japanese F3 champion Yuichi Nakayama to replace Kobayashi in its one-car line-up. Nakayama raced for the Hong Kong-based team between 2014-15, but has concentrated his efforts on Super GT in recent years.
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