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Wolff: "Wehrlein deserves to be in F1"

  • Published on 13 Dec 2017 10:02
  • comments 6
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says that it is unfair Pascal Wehrlein looks to be on his way out of the sport. The German lost his drive with Sauber after it was announced that Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc would partner Marcus Ericsson amid a new title sponsorship deal with Alfa Romeo in 2018.

With Williams set to sign Sergey Sirotkin for next year, Wehrlein's hopes of securing a race seat look to be diminished. Wolff acknowledged that it is a shame Wehrlein appears to be out of the question for a race seat, as he sees potential in him and believes he could go far.

"Pascal is in a difficult position because there is not really an open spot for next year if Williams door closes," Wolff told Autosport. "He deserves to be in Formula 1, he is a very good driver.

"On track his performance was exceptional, and for many other reasons that go much beyond the driving the doors haven't opened like we would have hoped. But I think he has the potential of being a successful Formula 1 driver."

Mercedes young driver programme, which contains Wehrlein, also features Esteban Ocon who had a successful year with Force India and George Russell who became the GP3 champion in 2017. Wolff admits he is happy with how the juniors performed this season.

"Our target is to identify the next Lewis Hamilton and that is not an easy task because he's just on an incredible level," said Wolff. "I think the decision that we have taken is that we want very fast and experienced drivers in the car, being at Mercedes is not the place where you learn, you need to be pretty complete when you join us.

"I mean so far I am happy with the programme, how it is going and who knows maybe in two or three years we will have the next junior driver in a Mercedes who has made his way up from Formula 4, Formula Renault like George or Esteban did."

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (6)

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  • Kean

    Posts: 692

    "Exceptional"?? Pascal is a good driver, no doubt, but exceptional? Will be interesting to see if Mercedes hires him as 3rd driver. They should, given that he's exceptional.

    • + 2
    • Dec 13 2017 - 10:41
  • Barron

    Posts: 625

    “Deserves?” No-one “deserves” to be in F1. If you’re good enough you’re going to be “in”. If you’ve got a bag full of cash and can drive in a relatively straight line, you’re “in.” Clearly Pascal didn’t fit either of these parameters so he doesn’t deserve to be in F1. I can’t think of anyone who’s a real hot shoe who isn’t engaged in F1 somehow, with the exception perhaps of Kvyat (I’m assuming Sirotkin will get the Williams seat).

    • + 1
    • Dec 13 2017 - 11:18
  • Orchide

    Posts: 82

    Well, he is his manager. Expected a statement like this.

    • + 0
    • Dec 13 2017 - 13:31
    • Barron

      Posts: 625

      With Wolf’s clout & status in F1, Pascal could have perhaps expected a better deal then surely? Maybe he should consider changing managers...

      • + 0
      • Dec 14 2017 - 09:32
    • Orchide

      Posts: 82

      Agree, I think Wolff has his own agenda. With a another manager WEH could perhaps have ended up with a seat next season.

      • + 0
      • Dec 14 2017 - 10:09
  • He is no doubt good, I remember what he did with that Manor last year, but exceptional? Either we've severely underestimated Ericsson, or Wolff is exaggerating. I wish the Sauber of this year had been more competitive so that we would've been able to properly gage them, but from what we have, he wasnt a must have. Surely more impressive debut than Hartley and Gasly, but nowhere near Ocon.

    • + 0
    • Dec 13 2017 - 13:54

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