Haas F1 says it won't be signing an American driver to its team for its inaugural Formula 1 World Championship season in 2016, ending Alexander Rossi's hopes of making the step from GP2.

One of the few American drivers coming through the European ranks, the 23 year-old - who had reserve driver duties with Caterham and Marussia - had been considered a possible candidate for a move into F1 after a particularly strong first-half to the 2015 GP2 season.

However, though he is currently classified second behind highly-rated McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne with only three rounds remaining, Rossi's chances of stepping up to F1 in 2016 appear to have been quashed, the team instead preferring to target experience over patriotism.

"There is nobody out there at the moment," team principal Gunther Steiner told F1.com. "Yes, there are drivers in GP2 and Formula Three, but having a rookie in a new team... that is difficult for both sides. The potential of such a partnership failing is pretty high.

"So at the moment we'd rather not be looking at that avenue, because you are also not helping an inexperienced driver - he could be burned in one season. We are new, so we need a known quantity in the team."

With Rossi ruled out and former front runner Nico Hulkenberg confirmed with Force India for another two seasons, Ferrari test drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne are considered strong contenders now, though Romain Grosjean has emerged for a possible swoop as the Lotus-Renault discussions drag on with no clear resolution either way.

"I don't want to drop names at this time, but we're pretty confident that by the end of September we will announce at least one driver. We are negotiating with two of them, but nothing is done. We are very close to some drivers - and at the end of September we will come forward. It is good to get another box ticked!"



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