Pietro Fittipaldi says he’s on track to return to the cockpit for IndyCar’s Mid-Ohio spherical, after testing a kart for the primary time since his Spa sportscar accident.
Fittipaldi, who has been rehabilitating with famend orthopedic surgeons Docs Terry Trammell and Timothy Weber and at PitFit Coaching in Indianapolis, returned house to North Carolina two days in the past and went karting on the GoPro Motorplex observe in Mooresville together with his brother Enzo, and uncle, former Indy automotive racer Max Papis.
It’s the primary time Fittipaldi has put in observe time since his WEC shunt at Spa-Francorchamps in Might, that broke his legs and prompted him to overlook the Indy GP and Indianapolis 500 – as a result of be his second and third IndyCar races with Dale Coyne Racing.
His place at Indy and Texas was stuffed by the opposite signed Coyne driver of the #19 DCR-Honda this season, Zachary Claman De Melo, whereas within the Detroit double-header, GP2 driver Santino Ferrucci made his IndyCar debut. Having now shuffled races with Claman de Melo, Fittipaldi is because of compete within the last 5 races of the season, beginning with Mid-Ohio on the finish of July.
“I’ve been utilizing a simulator, however this was my first time driving one thing ‘actual life’ because the accident,” Fittipaldi instructed Motorsport.com. “Every part was actually good as a result of Dr. Weber and Dr. Trammell sorted me very well in Indy, overseeing my surgical procedures and giving me actually good packages to work on. I used to be truly doing my swimming rehab at Dr. Trammell’s home virtually each day, and the bodily remedy program I did with them was very intense, very useful.
“Clearly I really feel the accidents a little bit bit after I’m going over curbing – these karts don’t have any suspension actually, it goes straight by your physique. However it’s regular and I’m actually proud of every thing. It’s not 100 p.c but which is why I’m nonetheless engaged on the restoration – I imply, issues like strolling. However after I bought within the kart I might drive very nicely.
“So at Mid-Ohio [on July 17] I’ll take a look at a Components four automotive after which the IndyCar too. I don’t know the observe, however on the identical time I’m studying the brand new observe, I’ll be seeing how I really feel. It is going to be a shakedown.
“The F4 automotive has metal brakes and also you don’t must hit the brakes as onerous because the carbon brakes like you will have in IndyCar, so I’m regularly making steps, stepping into it slowly.”
At all times saved the religion
Fittipaldi says that the boldness of such a swift return, as expressed in Might at Indianapolis, each to the media and to Motorsport.com’s Julia Piquet, was real, however now admits there had been some nagging doubts.
“Truthfully, you simply by no means know the way quick the bones are going to heal,” he stated, “however I’m actually fortunate. My ankle has healed extraordinarily nicely and stayed cell and robust, and so they’re each actually essential traits. And the bones on my left leg that broke, they take longer simply because they’re larger bones. However they’ve been therapeutic very nicely, additionally, so thank God that my physique heals very quick.
“When you will have an accident like that, it’s important to set a purpose for restoration in any other case it turns into a bit too open, you already know? And so I seemed on the IndyCar calendar and counted down and I set myself an optimistic purpose. I sat down with Dr. Trammell and we stated, ‘OK, that is the purpose for this week, that is the purpose for this week, that is the subsequent purpose,’ and so forth.
“It makes you consider what it’s important to do out of the automotive to have the ability to drive. And so though it was optimistic, it was potential and achievable and we’re nonetheless on track and I can come again robust.”
2019 goal is “to do one thing full-time”
Fittipaldi admitted that regardless of his deal with full restoration and the final 5 IndyCar races of 2018, he’s nonetheless eager about his choices for subsequent season. This 12 months, the 22-year-old was combining part-time campaigns in IndyCar, Japanese Tremendous Components and WEC, whereas he is additionally been a candidate for a Components 1 seat with Haas in 2019.
“Subsequent 12 months I do need to do one thing full time,” he stated. “Perhaps I will do one thing in Components 1 towards the top of this 12 months. I don’t know in any respect.
“My most important focus proper now’s returning to do these 5 races with IndyCar, however I’m solely going to return if I do know I’m coming again at a robust degree. I’ll know extra about it after the Mid-Ohio take a look at.
“After we spoke in Might, I stated concerning the talks with Haas, having a few conferences with Gunther Steiner [Haas team principal]. That was the opposite unlucky factor concerning the accident, in addition to lacking the Indy 500 – the main target needed to change to restoration as first precedence.
“However you by no means know what might occur on the finish of the 12 months, after the IndyCar season is over. For now, I need to simply take into consideration these 5 IndyCar races with Dale Coyne Racing.
“So like I say, in 2019 I’m trying to do one thing full-time. That is my purpose for subsequent 12 months. However my subsequent purpose is IndyCar and I’m actually blissful to be working with Dale’s staff. They’re an amazing group of individuals, they work actually onerous, and we’re gonna be again robust and I’ll do my greatest for them.”