Mercedes will find role for Pascal Wehrlein after loss of F1 seat

Toto Wolff says Pascal Wehrlein will stay within the Mercedes family despite appearing set to drop off the Formula 1 grid for 2018

Mercedes will find role for Pascal Wehrlein after loss of F1 seat

Long-time Mercedes protege Wehrlein lost his Sauber seat to Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc and is not in the frame to get the last vacant 2018 F1 drive at Williams.

With fellow Mercedes juniors Esteban Ocon and George Russell impressing at Force India as a race driver and in Friday practice appearances respectively, Wehrlein's future looked precarious.

But Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff has publicly backed Wehrlein's ability and confirmed that a role will be found for him.

"Pascal definitely deserves a place in Formula 1 and is certainly one of the fastest drivers," Wolff told Autosport.

"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 scored all five of Sauber's 2017 points, courtesy of eighth in the Spanish Grand Prix and 10th in Azerbaijan.

But with Sauber's enhanced relationship with Ferrari and its new Alfa Romeo tie-up, there was no longer a seat available for him.

Wehrlein suggested his best race performances of 2017 were overlooked because Sauber was so far behind by then.

"I'm quite happy in the end with five points," he said. "Not all of the races have been as good as I wished but I think in general we did what we could do."

He added that even if he does not race in F1 next year, he will not give up on trying to return to a race seat in 2019 - when a shake-up of the grid is expected as several top drivers' contracts expire.

shares
comments
The car that kickstarted Jordan's giantkilling

Previous article

The car that kickstarted Jordan's giantkilling

Next article

Force India plans factory upgrade to house F1 operation on one site

Force India plans factory upgrade to house F1 operation on one site
Load comments
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Plus

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of “glory” if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1’s other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021