American GP3 driver Santino Ferrucci has been signed by the new Haas Formula 1 team as a development driver.
The 17-year-old will attend races and tests with the team as well as spend time on its simulator, alongside his maiden season in GP3 with new series entrant DAMS.
Ferrucci has been competing in the European junior ranks since his 16th birthday in May 2014, taking part mostly in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in that time, finishing 11th in the 2015 standings.
He’s also won races in British F3 and finished third in last year’s Toyota Racing Series.
Ferrucci becomes the first American driver to be signed by Haas, which makes its race debut at next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
Team principal Guenther Steiner said: ?In Formula 1, developing your personnel is as important as developing your racecar You can?t have one without the other.
“Santino Ferrucci has done a very good job of proving himself in each of the racing series he?s competed in, and his maturity outside of the racecar is impressive.
“We see Santino as a young, American driver with a lot of potential. His opportunity with DAMS is an excellent way for him to further his development while positioning Haas F1 Team for future success.?
Ferrucci added: ?My goal since I first started racing was to become a Formula 1 driver, and to be an American who is part of an American team is something I take a tremendous amount of pride in.
?There is still a lot of work I need to do, but being paired with Haas F1 Team will allow me to learn more and at a faster rate. It?ll allow me to make the most of my GP3 drive with DAMS and, ultimately, prepare me for Formula 1.?
Ferrucci’s fellow GP3 recruit Charles Leclerc will also have a role with Haas this year, according to partner team Ferrari.