Several hours after this was posted, Kevin Magnussen was announced as the replacement for Nikita Mazepin at Haas. It is believed Pietro Fittipaldi remains as reserve driver.
(March 9th, 2022, 6pm)
There hangs a desperation around the desire to hump a key announcement before all others do, especially when that burst of news comes not from one’s own fingertips, but rather through the work of others.
And then, only to find that it is wrong.
At this juncture, as of 10am on Wednesday March 9th, 2022, it can be confirmed that Pietro Fittipaldi has not yet been confirmed as the replacement for the dumped Nikita Mazepin at the Haas F1 team.
In fact, nobody has. Not that one would get that impression from many of the popular outlets online.
There is an issue of trust when it comes to reporting news or updates, but all too often a thrust through one’s timeline ends up being a doom scroll through a field of copyists and guesswork.
Even before Mazepin had been dropped by Haas, there were rumbling stories that Fittipaldi was to replace the Russian, but none of these stories were based on anything remotely solid. There was certainly nothing that one could reasonably use as a back-up for a news story.
Following the split with Mazepin, team owner Gene Haas spoke to the Associated Press regarding potential replacements but wouldn’t reveal any specifics. “We’re in the process of looking at several candidates. We’ll see who is available and what we have to deal with, but we’ll have somebody by Wednesday [today].”
With the next pre-season test at Bahrain kicking off tomorrow, the Haas twitter account posted a picture of the Brazilian driving at the circuit in 2020 – an image that further fuelled belief that Fittipaldi would have the race seat this year.
While it is easy to add two plus two, the answer in this instance may be five – or any number other than four for that matter. Haas confirmed that Fittipaldi would be testing in Bahrain, but despite having raced with the team twice in 2020, the team boss said that race experience would be of higher value. “I think we’d obviously like to get someone with a bit more actual experience. We just have to see what’s available.”
Using this picture as confirmation is not enough to warrant a story and can be very misleading. Just because something appears to make sense does not mean it will happen.
On top of that, the biography on Fittipaldi’s own Twitter page states that he is a Haas F1 Driver, which is true – Fittipaldi has actually been a driver with Haas F1 since November 2018, although a vast majority of that time has been spent as simulator driver with the team.
As a note, his biography also states that he is an Indycar driver, a role that he has dipped in and out of in recent seasons, but not for 2022. Much of Fittipaldi’s Twitter output relates to news related to the racing exploits of his younger brother, Enzo. Alas, a Twitter biography – updated or otherwise – is not confirmation.
There was also a message on the Instagram page of one of Haas’s secondary sponsors, Home Deluxe, where they wished the Haas drivers Mick Schumacher and Pietro Fittipaldi luck for the 2022 season. This was also a false flag.
Home Deluxe’s sponsorship deal with Haas is not dependant on the presence of either Mazepin or Fittipaldi, so their declaration should not be taken as a given. Also, as a secondary sponsor, it is unlikely that Home Deluxe would necessarily be in the fold when it comes to news of driver changes.
If anything, the post may have caused a touch of friction, as the team could, not unreasonably, see the post as an overstep by the sponsor – it has since been deleted. Seeing as how none of the regular publishers ran the story based on the post, one should assume they contacted Haas very quickly for clarification and received none – and this is where we are now.
Interestingly, in the meantime, rumours have emerged from Danish media that Kevin Magnussen is high on the list to replace Mazepin – rumours that have since been chased by the likes Sky, BBC, etc., but beyond that, there is nothing so solid as to lean on.
Contacts are important and while it may be fun to play the role of journalist, there are rules to follow, whether they be ethical or professional.
Building relationships with people in paddocks and the sport is critical to making this endeavour work. By doing so, a pathway can be created whereby information can be clarified, corrected, confirmed, or denied.
For safety and accuracy, posting “news” without proof of confirmation or information from trusted sources is representative of poor judgement and desperation. Even if a story published without confirmation or sources pans out, then it will have far more to do with guesswork and luck, than being correct.
If one is guessing, winging it or is merely regurgitating the work of others and passing it off as your own, then just stop.