Photo courtesy Haas F1 Team

Pietro Fittipaldi confirmed as test driver for Haas F1 team

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SAO PAULO (AP) — Pietro Fittipaldi will be the test driver for Formula One team Haas starting right after the season-ending grand prix in Abu Dhabi this month.

Fittipaldi said on Friday at his home Brazilian Grand Prix that he aims to race or take part in official practices next season.

“I was offered the position last month to test the 2019 season Pirelli tires in Abu Dhabi and also to be their test driver throughout the next season,” Pietro said. “Two days ago, I told him it was a done deal, he was very emotional. It is a dream for me to drive an F1 car this year already.”

This year, Pietro Fittipaldi raced six times for IndyCar team Dale Coyne, finishing 26th overall.

In May, Fittipaldi underwent surgery on his left leg and right ankle after crashing in Belgium at the opening of the world endurance championship.

He said at Interlagos he had recovered.

The 22-year-old Pietro, a grandchild of former F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, will be the second Brazilian test driver in the series, alongside McLaren’s Sergio Sette Camara.

For the first time since 1970, there will be no Brazilian driver on the Sao Paulo grid on Sunday.

American team Haas was in fifth position in the constructors’ championship, 22 points ahead of McLaren.

F1 races in Austin, Mexico City hitting financial rough patches

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two of Formula One’s three races in North America are facing financial issues that are raising concern about their future.

Organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix won’t get at least $20 million from the state of Texas for the 2018 race after missing a paperwork deadline set by state law. And new questions lurk about the future of the Mexican Grand Prix after the country’s new president suggested the government may not spend on the race like it has the last four years.

Both races have been popular with drivers and fans, and have enjoyed key dates on the F1 calendar. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched season championships in Texas in 2015 and in Mexico City in 2017 and 2018.

Officials in Formula One and at the Circuit of the Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.