Mercedes protege Pascal Wehrlein secures 2016 Manor Formula 1 seat

Mercedes protege Pascal Wehrlein is to drive for Manor in the 2016 Formula 1 season, Autosport understands

Mercedes protege Pascal Wehrlein secures 2016 Manor Formula 1 seat

Reigning DTM champion Wehrlein has been linked with Manor for a number of months, but it is believed a deal has finally been struck that will bring the 21-year-old Mercedes reserve into F1, with confirmation of the move due shortly.

The young German is highly rated and already has a proven pedigree, winning the 2011 ADAC Formel Masters before finishing runner-up the following year in the Formula 3 Euro Series and fourth in the parallel European F3 championship.

In 2013 Wehrlein moved onto the DTM, becoming the youngest champion in the history of the series last year.

Since September 2014 Wehrlein has combined his DTM role with that of understudy to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Now Wehrlein will get his opportunity to compete against the duo in a revamped Manor team, with its cars this year powered by Mercedes, and with a Williams transmission.

Wehrlein told German publication Auto Bild: "The discussions were led by Toto Wolff for me. He helps me a lot, for which I am very, very grateful."

The second seat remains up for grabs. Established Manor drivers Will Stevens, Alexander Rossi and GP2 race winner Rio Haryanto are all vying to now become Wehrlein's team-mate.

Wehrlein's F1 move will also allow Mercedes to finalise its 2016 DTM line-up.

While rivals Audi and BMW confirmed unchanged driver rosters before Christmas, Mercedes' situation was complicated by the uncertainty over Wehrlein's status.

His departure from the German series is likely to create an opening for Renault F1 reserve and GP3 champion Esteban Ocon.

2016 F1 DRIVER LINE-UP SO FAR

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen
Williams-Mercedes: Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa
Red Bull-TAG (Renault): Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo
Force India-Mercedes: Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg
Renault: Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer
Toro Rosso-Ferrari: Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr
Sauber-Ferrari: Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson
McLaren-Honda: Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button
Manor-Mercedes: Pascal Wehrlein (subject to official confirmation), tba
Haas-Ferrari: Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez

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