Fittipaldi switches to Lotus for 2017 F3.5 season
Pietro Fittipaldi will race for Lotus in the World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship this season, it has been announced.
Having competed for the British squad Fortec in 2016, the 20-year-old will switch to the Lotus team for his sophomore season in a bid to win the title in his second year in the RPM-run series.
The grandson of two-time Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, Pietro finished 10th in the standings in 2016, taking a lone podium in the season finale at Barcelona.
Fittipaldi drove for Lotus in the end-of-year collective test at Jerez, where he was quickest on Day 2.
The Czech team finished runner-up to Arden in the 2016 season, taking three wins and nine podium finishes.
“I really enjoyed working with the team when we met last year for winter testing," he said. It’s an extremely professional team, we did two test days and we topped morning and afternoon sessions.
"I felt really comfortable and I’m very happy to drive with them for 2017. 45 years ago my grandfather won the Formula 1 World Championship with Lotus and this is a great coincidence.
"I’m not competing for the Formula 1 title at the moment, but we’ll give all our effort to win World Series."
Lotus team principal Antonin Charouz added: "I’m very happy to announce Pietro as our driver for the 2017 season.
"I’m a good friend of Emerson and it is really a pleasure to welcome his grandson Pietro to our family. I hope we can score good results together as a team and in the driver championship as well."
Binder stays with Lotus
Joining Fittipaldi at Lotus will be Rene Binder, who will continue with the Czech team for his second full season in the series. The 25-year-old had finished seventh in 2016, taking five podiums.
"It feels great to renew my contract with Lotus 3.5 team and for the first time in my single-seater career I will continue with the same team, which in my opinion might be even a little advantage," said the Austrian.
"2016 was a very important year for me so we just need to stay focussed and build on the five podiums that we achieved in Aragon, Paul Ricard, Silverstone and Monza."
Fittipaldi and Binder join the already announced Alfonso Celis Jr. (Fortec) as confirmed signings for the 2017 season.
The renamed Formula 3.5 series will be on the support bill for the FIA World Endurance Championship at six of its nine rounds this year.
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