Pascal Wehrlein is not denying suggestions he is now in pole position to make his F1 debut next year. The speculation about the 20-year-old's future has shifted into a high gear since the new engine deal between his employer Mercedes and the British backmarker Manor was announced officially in the past few days.
German Wehrlein will not, however, be trackside at Sochi in his official post as Mercedes' F1 reserve this weekend, as he is now on the cusp of securing the DTM title for the German carmaker with just the forthcoming Hockenheim finale to go. "Pascal is currently the leader in DTM," Mercedes chief Toto Wolff told Auto Bild, "so his main focus is to win there."
"But he has the makings of a formula one driver," Wolff admitted, "so we would wish to accommodate him. First there would have to be a place for him." At Mercedes' dominant works team, no such race seat is free for now. And so it makes sense that Mercedes will negotiate a place for him at Manor, especially as many are comparing the new alliance to those between Red Bull and Toro Rosso, or Haas and Ferrari.
Wehrlein said: "Toto has to decide how to proceed. If he sees a way to put me into formula one, then I would be happy to go. The best way would obviously be at Mercedes, but there is probably no chance of that. So then you have to look at what the alternatives are," he added. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing