Wehrlein will ‘remain part’ of Mercedes

Date published: January 11 2018

Pascal Wehrlein’s F1 racing career may be over for now but there is some good news with Toto Wolff adamant he will “remain part” of the Mercedes squad.

Wehrlein was dropped at the end of the 2017 season, losing his Sauber race-seat to Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc.

Although he had hoped to enter the fray for the final available seat at Williams, that did not come to fruition.

As such Wehrlein is without a race-seat for the 2018 season, however, Wolff says he will continue to play a role in the Mercedes team.

“Pascal definitely deserves a place in Formula 1 and is certainly one of the fastest drivers,” the motorsport boss told Motorsport.com.

“At the moment it looks a little bit bitter as far as the available [race] driver seats are concerned.

“But he’s definitely going to be on our team.

“[It is unclear] whether or not he actively participates in a racing series other than Formula 1.

“He will definitely remain part of our squad.”

Wehrlein weighing up return to DTM

Date published: December 21 2017

Pascal Wehrlein is considering a return to DTM with Mercedes in 2018 after Sauber opted not to renew his contract, according to reports.

Autosport believe both he and former F3 champion Dani Juncadella, who has tested for Williams and Force India in the past, are the main contenders for the role but there is a possibility that Wehrlein could look to secure a third driver role in Formula 1 instead.

Wehrlein finds himself without a seat in Formula 1 next season as Sauber decided to keep Marcus Ericsson and pair him up with Ferrari’s rising star Charles Leclerc.

Wehrlein does remain in a partnership with Mercedes, but the Silver Arrows were not prepared to give him the chance to partner Lewis Hamilton as the German is still not the finished article.

He also does not appear to be in contention for the final vacant seat at Williams, who look to set to choose between Sergey Sirotkin, Daniil Kvyat and Robert Kubica in January.

If Wehrlein was to return to DTM with Mercedes, he would find himself in a similiar situation as he is now because the Silver Arrows are leaving the sport altogether at the end of the 2018 season in preparation for their move into Formula E.

Wehrlein spent three years in DTM before making the step up to Formula 1 with Manor Racing, winning the title with Mercedes in 2015.

Wolff bemoans Wehrlein’s Formula 1 exit

Date published: December 14 2017

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that Pascal Wehrlein “deserves” to be in Formula 1 and it is a “shame” that he finds himself with no seat for 2018.

Wehrlein was shown the door at Sauber as they opted to retain Marcus Ericsson and replace Wehrlein with Ferrari-backed Charles Leclerc as part of their new partnership with the Scuderia.

Wehrlein is part of Mercedes’ driver programme and a lack of sponsorship meant he was a bad fit for the Swiss team, who he secured all five World Championship points for in 2017.

Wehrlein has since been linked with the final vacant seat at Williams but, with an announcement now imminent, Wehrlein is not in contention and will have to race in another series in 2018.

“Pascal deserves to be in Formula One,” Wolff told Italy’s Corriere dello Sport. “He’s an excellent driver.

“He’s not in an easy position because there are no seats open to him.

“It’s a shame, because he has the potential to win and his performances on the track have been exceptional.”

While Wolff praised Wehrlein’s talents, he was reluctant to giving Wehrlein an opportunity at Mercedes in the near future as they need drivers that are finished articles.

Wolff said: “Our goal is to find the new Lewis Hamilton, which is not easy because he is at a very high level.

“Our strategy is to hire quick drivers who already have experience. Mercedes is not a place to learn.

“Those who arrive here must already be a complete driver.”

Wehrlein: Sauber car masked my performances

Date published: December 10 2017

Pascal Wehrlein feels that the Sauber car prevented him from showing his true potential as he faces the prospect of his Formula 1 career being cut short.

Wehrlein scored all five of Sauber’s World Championship points in 2017, but the Swiss team have opted to pair Marcus Ericsson with Charles Leclerc for the 2018 season.

The decision leaves Wehrlein on the sidelines and is only considered an outside shot for the final vacant seat at Williams next year, but he is adamant that he always tried the best he can despite knowing his Formula 1 future was in serious doubt.

“I was always giving my best,” Wehrlein said. “I think that’s the most important thing you can say about yourself. When the opportunity was there we took it.

“You can always do things better. With more experience you think, ‘Ahh, one or two races ago I was doing this direction with the set-up. Now I know this was worse, I should have gone in this direction’.

“You always learn something. But I can definitely say I was always giving my best.”

Wehrlein also believes that he could have made more of a name for himself but Sauber’s car, packed with a one-year-old Ferrari engine, stopped him from standing out from the crowd.

“In the second half the gap was a few times too big,” he added. “Even if we had a good race in the second half of the season, you couldn’t see it as the gap was too big.

“For example at Suzuka I was lapped by the second last guy. What can you do there?”

“[We] scored five points when we could score points, that’s important. But probably in the second half of the season I had better races but you couldn’t see it.

“Malaysia was one of them, we were close to Q2 and the race was quite good.

“[Brazil] was quite good in terms of performance. There we were not so far from Q2 I think, just one or two tenths.”

Axed Wehrlein ‘a potential World Champion’

Date published: December 9 2017

Former Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has questioned the team’s decision not to pick Pascal Wehrlein as part of their 2018 line-up.

Wehrlein finds himself without a drive in Formula 1 for next season after Sauber opted to retain Marcus Ericsson and partner him with the Ferrari-backed and current F2 champion Charles Leclerc.

The German, who knew his fate was sealed at the Swiss team for quite some time, scored all five of Sauber’s World Championship points, but a lack of funding and the fact he is on Mercedes’ books means he has been put on the sidelines.

“I think his performance in 2017 is still not properly appreciated,” Kaltenborn said. “Without him, the team would have scored no points at all.

“I just hope that he will continue to get what he deserves in formula one, which above all else is a cockpit.

“Pascal has the potential to become world champion with the right team. Anyone who has worked with him knows that.”

Wehrlein is considered an outsider for the last remaining seat on the grid at Williams and could find himself back in DTM with Mercedes for one final year.

Ferrari still want two drivers at Sauber

Date published: November 2 2017

Ferrari are still trying to negotiate with Sauber about getting both Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi on the grid in 2018.

The widespread understanding is that Leclerc’s place is already secure and will replace Pascal Wehrlein at the end of the season.

But uncertainty remains over Marcus Ericsson, whose financial backers are the same that fund Sauber, as Ferrari would also like to see him replaced with Giovinazzi, thus converting the Swiss outfit into a full feeder team for the Scuderia.

Either way, Sauber are close to making their decision on their 2018 line-up.

“Quite soon,” said Vasseur when quizzed about when Sauber will be ready to make an announcement.

“We know where we are, it’s not the first priority today to take a decision on our side. We have a lot things to do on the table, but drivers will arrive quite soon.

“The deadline will be a week before Barcelona [testing], but at one stage we will have to take a decision. But we are not in a rush. I’m not too worried about the market, and the other drivers.

“We are discussing with Ferrari for the driver, and I think we will get one. Step by step. First we need to take one, and we have to discuss about the first one, and then we will discuss about the second one.”

Vasseur has also stated that the decision will not be purely dictated by financial reasons.

He added: “It won’t be a financial decision at all. We have a long-term plan with Sauber, and we can’t build up the team based on a choice just focussed on the budget. It would be a huge mistake.”

Sauber opt to drop Wehrlein for 2018 – report

Date published: October 31 2017

Sauber have decided to drop Pascal Wehrlein at the end of the season so F2 champion and Ferrari reserve Charles Leclerc can join the team.

According to the well-respected Blick reporter Roger Benoit, Sauber will head into next season with Marcus Ericsson and Leclerc, meaning Wehrlein and another Ferrari hopeful in Antonio Giovinazzi would be left without a seat.

Ericcson has yet to score a World Championship point this season, but the Swede’s backers are the same as those who pump cash into the Sauber F1 team and has reportedly been retained for predominantly that reason.

Sauber’s renewed relationship with Ferrari, once the engine deal with Honda was cancelled, has allowed the opportunity for the Scuderia to use the Swiss team as a feeder to help blood their youngsters into Formula 1.

Leclerc has been given plenty of FP1 outings at Sauber in preparation for a full-time role with the team and Blick believe the announcement of Leclerc and Ericsson will be made in November.

Wehrlein is considered an outsider for a seat at Williams, who are also yet to reveal their 2018 line-up, but the German could be forced back into DTM with Mercedes before the Silver Arrows leave the series at the end of next year.