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Force India's Wehrlein deal with Mercedes made its F1 test viable

Mercedes paid Force India to run its reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein at the second Formula 1 test, which made it financially viable for the Silverstone-based team to test at Barcelona

There was speculation over Force India's participation in the 2015 season after it suffered a number of delays with the build of its new car, forcing the team to miss the first test at Jerez.

Further delays meant the 2015 car was not ready for the second test either so the team was set to miss it only to then announce it would take its 2014 car along to carry out testing with the new generation of Pirelli tyres.

It has now emerged that Force India was only able to attend after being contracted by Mercedes to run Wehrlein for two days so the DTM driver could gain more F1 experience.

The team then ran Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg for a day apiece.

"Mercedes wanted him to have some time in the car and it suited us in terms of being able to run the car," deputy team principal Bob Fernley told AUTOSPORT.

"It was a pleasure for us to do it. It was obviously financially worthwhile and also allowed us to get Nico and Sergio back up to speed before the third test - so it was win-win."

When asked if there were any plans for Wehrlein, who completed 113 laps for Force India, to become the team's third driver, Fernley said: "No we haven't discussed that with Mercedes.

"It was just a one-off. He will probably run again for us in one of the young driver tests but at this point, we don't have any plans for him in the long term."

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