Pascal Wehrlein will step up to Sauber for his sophomore Formula 1 season in 2017, it has been announced.
Wehrlein made his F1 debut with Manor last year, scoring an impressive 10th place finish at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The former DTM champion emerged as a potential replacement for long-time backers Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise decision to retire from the sport, but the German manufacturer felt that he was too inexperienced to race for a front-running team.
An option to continue racing with Manor was also closed when the English team went into administration earlier this month, having crucially lost 10th place in the constructors championship.
“I am very delighted at being a part of the Sauber F1 Team for the upcoming Formula One Season,’’ he 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 mid-field 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.”
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn added: “We are very pleased to confirm Pascal Wehrlein as our second race driver for the 2017 Formula One World Championship.”
“Pascal has shown his talent throughout his career – in single seater racing as well as in the DTM. Last year in his rookie Formula One 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 will join Marcus Ericsson at the Henwil-based squad, with the Swede staying on for a third season.
Wehrlein’s move to Sauber all but confirms Valtteri Bottas’ seat at Mercedes, with an announcement about the Finn’s future expected this week.
by Rachit Thukral