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Haas F1 Adds American As Development Driver

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 10 2016
Seventeen-year-old American Santino Ferrucci has joined the Haas F1 Team.

Seventeen-year-old American Santino Ferrucci has joined the Haas F1 Team.

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Haas F1 Team has signed 17-year-old Santino Ferrucci as its first development driver and American with the potential to land a fulltime seat in Formula One with the North Carolina-based organization.

A native of Woodbury, Conn., Ferrucci will be embedded with Haas F1 Team at every opportunity in 2016 during Haas F1’s debut season in the FIA Formula One World Championship, attending races and tests while also participating in the team’s simulator program.

Ferrucci will contest the full GP3 Series schedule in 2016 for DAMS, an accomplished racing team that has helped graduate numerous drivers to F1, including Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman earned three championships with DAMS _ the 2010 Auto GP title, the 2011 GP2 Asia Series crown and the 2011 GP2 Series championship.

“In Formula One, developing your personnel is as important as developing your race car. You can’t have one without the other,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “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 race car 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.”

Haas F1 Team will make its competitive debut during practice for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 18. Qualifying is scheduled for March 19 and the race runs March 20, with NBC Sports Network providing the domestic broadcast.

The team headed by chairman Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, is the first American-based organization to compete in F1 in 30 years. Haas F1 Team is based at the same Kannapolis, N.C., campus as Stewart-Haas Racing, multiple champions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Haas F1 recently banked a total of 474 laps during eight days of preseason testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, with Grosjean and teammate Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico sorting out the VF-16 and its turbocharged Ferrari 061 V-6 powerplant. Hass F1 Team is a technical partner with Scuderia Ferrari, an arrangement that includes the power unit, gearbox and mechanical components such as suspension and brake systems in the VF-16.

Each of the nine races comprising the 2016 GP3 Series schedule runs in conjunction with Formula One, allowing Ferrucci ample opportunity to integrate himself with Haas F1 Team.

“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 said. “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.”

Ferrucci began his career in karting. At age 5, he already was touring the United States and Europe. By the time he was 11, Ferrucci was a multi-time champion.

In 2013, Ferrucci graduated to open-wheel racing, competing in Formula 2000 and the Skip Barber Racing Series. Ferrucci won his Skip Barber Racing Series debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway and collected five victories, two poles and three fastest-lap awards upon the conclusion of the season. In Formula 2000, Ferrucci never finished outside of the top-four in the six races he started, with each field featuring 37 or more cars.

The 2014 season saw Ferrucci compete in British Formula 3. He won two races, both at Brands Hatch, becoming the youngest race-winner in the history of British Formula 3 at 16-years, 2 months and 30 days.

In 2015, Ferrucci continued to advance in open-wheel, competing in the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand and the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Ferrucci finished third in the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand point standings on the strength of one win and five podiums, his first full season competing in an open-wheel championship.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 10 2016
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