Santino Ferrucci will remain as part of the Haas F1 Team junior line-up in 2017, Team Principal Guenther Steiner has confirmed.
The eighteen-year-old took part in two days of in-season testing at Silverstone with the American team in 2016, as well as performing simulator duties, all in conjunction with a full season of GP3 Series racing with DAMS, but Steiner has admitted that the plans for Ferrucci are for the long-term.
“He will stay as the development driver,” said Steiner on Autosport. “It’s a long-term project, we don’t exactly what we’re going to do next year with him because as you know testing is still up in the air.
“We know the tests we are doing but we still need to decide when we use the rookie days and who we put in it. We also need to decide if we are going to do some FP1s with him or not. Over the winter, we’re going to sit down with him and see what we’re doing.”
Steiner knows Ferrucci has the pace to win races in GP3, where he is likely to be for a second season, but just needs to put it all together to break through, and believes he has the potential to make it all the way to a Formula 1 race seat in the future.
“He has got the good pace, he just needs to get good laps together,” admits Steiner. “In races he’s pretty good, he normally goes forward and he was on the podium once as well.
“He’s pretty young and he just needs to focus on ‘OK I can do three fast sectors, now I need to make a quick lap out of it’. At the moment I think he will stay in GP3, we need to see how he develops – that is why we worked with him.
“In the United States, of the young guys, he’s the most promising in the bracket of age we need so therefore we support him. If he makes it or not it’s more down to him than to me.”