It’s been 87 days since Enzo Fittipaldi last turned a wheel in anger, but the Brazilian racer finally made his long-awaited return to action in pre-season testing and was delighted to find himself “right on it” in the first session.
Fittipaldi was injured during a collision with Théo Pourchaire in the Feature Race at Jeddah last season and spent the off-season performing an extensive rehabilitation programme to ensure he was able to return in time for pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.
And having achieved his goal, Fittipaldi said that it was great to be back in the Charouz Racing System garage.
“Man, I am really happy to be back,” he elated. “It was a great day. This morning I did my first laps back since Jeddah, so it was a long break for me, but we were right on it. We were right on the pace, and I was extremely happy that my first five or six laps were really competitive.
“I am very happy (with Charouz). I know the whole crew, it’s like a family and it feels like I am at home. The whole environment of the team is great, and the atmosphere is mega. I am just really happy to be back with them and I’m looking forward to the first round in Bahrain - I am extremely happy.”
Despite suffering from mechanical issues in the morning that restricted him to just nine laps, Fittipaldi still managed to complete 33 laps overall on Day 1 and finish with the eighth fastest time.
Heading into his first full season of F2, Fittipaldi is hoping the lessons that he learned during 2021 can see him become a regular fixture in the points.
“I felt that I was learning so much and making big steps every single time I went out,” said Fittipaldi, who scored his first F2 points in Sprint Race 2 at Jeddah. “I think that my performances last year - considering I had never driven a car with carbon brakes before jumping in at Monza - were really good.
“There is always room for improvement, so we will keep our heads down and continue working. Our qualifying target is top 10 for sure. Being very realistic, I think we should be targeting from P12 to P8 in Qualifying, but obviously, you want to be in the top 10 for the reverse grid and that’s going to be our target every race weekend, and I think that it’s very possible.
“We already look very competitive at testing, so I am looking forward to it. I'll hopefully get some podiums this year, spray some champagne and finish in the points - that is the goal.”