Haas F1 Team has signed up GP3 newcomer Santino Ferrucci as its development driver.

The 17-year-old will work within the Haas Team by attending races and tests throughout the year while also participating in the team's simulator programme.

Ferrucci is preparing for his rookie GP3 campaign with DAMS after graduating from the European Formula 3 championship last year.

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Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner says his squad is focusing on improving its driver personnel as well as its car and believes the American teenager is a strong addition to the team as it prepares for its Formula 1 Grand Prix debut next week in Melbourne.

"In Formula One, developing your personnel is as important as developing your racecar. You can't have one without the other," Steiner said. "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 says he is naturally thrilled to become part of the first US F1 team in 30 years and is keen to pick up plenty of experience for his burgeoning racing career.

"My goal since I first started racing was to become a Formula One driver, and to be an American who is part of an American team is something I take a tremendous amount of pride in," Ferrucci explained. "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 One."