Mercedes F1 chief Wolff: Wehrlein, Ocon “extraordinary” drivers

Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff has described its junior drivers, Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, as "extraordinary"

Mercedes F1 chief Wolff: Wehrlein, Ocon “extraordinary” drivers

Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff has described its junior drivers, Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, as "extraordinary".

Asked about the pair in an interview with Autosport conducted before Nico Rosberg's shock retirement, Wolff talked up their ability and said both deserved to be in F1.

While Ocon will race for Force India next year, Wehrlein does not have a deal in place and with Valtteri Bottas closing on the vacant Mercedes seat, his hopes of a drive lie with Sauber or Manor.
"These two [Ocon and Wehrlein] are extraordinary drivers out of a handful of drivers I consider to be in the same league," Wolff told Autosport.

"They've had two very different careers; one went into DTM and the other had an exceptional career in lower formula and GP3.

"From my perspective, they are both very different personalities and very equal in the race car.

"Both deserve to stay in Formula 1 and have a future."

Wolff added that it remains to be seen what the pair's ultimate potential is, although he has no doubts about their speed.

"You can't say; people grow, develop and change," said Wolff when asked about whether they had the ability to become world champions.

"To be a world champion, you have to put it all together and it's not just natural speed, there's more.

"If you put it all together, you're going to be very success and if not, you're not.

"None of us ever know when we start to support a young driver as to whether he's going to have it all, but there's lots of positives."

Wolff stressed that he did not make the decision on whether Force India would choose Ocon or Wehrlein as its Mercedes-backed driver for 2017.

"It was not my decision in terms of who went to Force India," said Wolff.

"Force India had a very clear view that they would like to work with Esteban, they tested both and I think they felt they got on well with Esteban and that was within the right frame of mind to be working with them.

"We're all human beings, you have more sympathy for one and less for the other.

"That's why the engineering group ratified their decision with Vijay [Mallya]."

shares
comments
Formula 1's best supporting acts of 2016

Previous article

Formula 1's best supporting acts of 2016

Next article

Troubled start to 2015 F1 season 'killed' Renault, says Remi Taffin

Troubled start to 2015 F1 season 'killed' Renault, says Remi Taffin
Load comments
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone clash Plus

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021