INDIANAPOLIS — Haas F1 reserve driver and current FIA Formula 2 driver Santino Ferrucci will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut for the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader weekend.
The Connecticut native will race the No. 19 Paysafe Honda in place of Zachary Claman De Melo, who is replacing Pietro Fittipaldi in the Indianapolis 500 after Fittipaldi’s injury from a World Endurance Championship qualifying incident in Belgium two weeks ago.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to race the No. 19 Paysafe car with Dale Coyne Racing at Detroit, especially that I’ll be coming off a F2 race in Monaco,” said Ferrucci. “The goal is still to be a Formula 1 driver but to be racing in IndyCar is going to be something special. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s just unfortunate that it’s under the circumstances of Pietro injuries, I hope he has a speedy recovery and can come back very soon.”
Team owner Dale Coyne had a lot of things to look at when making the decision to take on Ferrucci.
“It came together quickly,” said Coyne. “His agent contacted us, there was an interest in doing an IndyCar race or two this year and it kind of fit together and involved the right timing.
“We were trying to decide who was going to be the driver here and how we could move things around and make that work logistically, financially, all the things that had to happen and I looked at the schedule.”
Ferrucci will fly to Monaco soon in preparation for the Formula 2 portion of the Grand Prix weekend and will fly back to the U.S. in time for the race weekend.
This announcement comes one day after Fittipaldi and Coyne made an appearance in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center to give an update on Fittipaldi’s condition.
“Realistically, [Fittipaldi]’s original schedule was to do the [Indy] GP, this race, Texas, then not come back till Mid-Ohio,” said Coyne. “I think the plan is we’ve moved some races around with Zach, so he’ll do this race, probably Texas. But that frees the whole rest of the season up so he can come back at Mid-Ohio and finish up the season.”
Ferrucci currently races in Formula 2 for Trident Racing with a best finish of sixth on the streets of Baku, Azerbaijan. Before racing in Formula 2, Ferrucci raced in European Formula 3 and GP3 after moving to Europe in 2014.