Sauber F1 team signs Pascal Wehrlein for 2017 season

Sauber has announced Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein will join the team for the 2017 Formula 1 season

Sauber F1 team signs Pascal Wehrlein for 2017 season

The German fended off competition from Rio Haryanto and Felipe Nasr, who he replaces, to secure the seat alongside Marcus Ericsson.

The move is anticipated to be a precursor to Valtteri Bottas being released by Williams to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

As part of the sequence of moves, Williams is expected to announce Felipe Massa will come out of retirement to replace Bottas.

Wehrlein said: "It is a new challenge in a new team, and I am really excited and looking forward to this new adventure.

"Our objective is to establish ourselves in the midfield and to score points on a regular basis.

"That being said, I will do my best to support Sauber.

"Now I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the team and to tackling the preparations for the 2017 season.

"I want to say a big thank you to Sauber for trusting in me and giving me this great chance.

"And surely, a huge thanks also goes to Mercedes for the support."

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn added: "Pascal has shown his talent throughout his career - in single seater racing as well as in the DTM.

"Last year in his rookie Formula 1 season, he proved his potential by scoring one point in the Austrian GP in Spielberg.

"There is surely more to come from Pascal, and we want to give him the chance to further grow and learn at the pinnacle of motorsport.

"I am confident Marcus and Pascal will form a solid combination for 2017."

Wehrlein was a contender for the Mercedes seat, but the world champion team felt he lacked experience after just one season in F1.

His move to Sauber had been on the cards anyway before Rosberg's announcement shook up the market.

It is understood Mercedes felt Sauber was a stronger and more stable opportunity for Wehrlein rather than staying on at Manor.

Kaltenborn and Toto Wolff discussed the possibility in Brazil in November.

They came close to a deal, but Rosberg's shock retirement delayed proceedings as Mercedes weighed up its options.

Wehrlein had a strong rookie season, scoring the team's only point with 10th in Austria and reaching Q2 in for of the last nine races.

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