Haas F1 team boss Gunther Steiner has confirmed that Santino Ferrucci will continue as the team’s development driver in 2017.
In 2016, the 18-year-old took part in two days of testing for Haas, and also worked on the team’s simulator. In addition, he turned out for the DAMS GP3 team, finishing 12th in the standings.
Steiner believes that the American has the potential to have a long-term role to play at the team, and as such he will remain in the mix.
“He will stay as the development driver,” said Steiner told 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.”
Questioned as to whether Ferrucci would be the next American driver to take his place on the F1 grid, Steiner replied: “I hope so,” but added that Ferrucci would need to be more consistent if he is to make it to motorsport’s premier class.
“He has got the good pace, he just needs to get good laps together,” said 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’.”