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Wehrlein returns to DTM with Mercedes

  • Published on 07 Feb 2018 11:35
  • comments 6
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes has confirmed that Pascal Wehrlein will rejoin its DTM squad after he missed out on a Formula 1 seat for 2018. Sauber announced that it was retaining Marcus Ericsson for the upcoming season, who will partner 2017 Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc.

Wehrlein has experience in DTM, making his debut in the German touring car championship in 2013. In 2015, he won the title to become the series' youngest ever champion. The 23-year-old admits that he is looking forward to familiarising himself with the cars again.

"I have fantastic memories with DTM, not least because of my title win in 2015, but also because of the strong team spirit and the many nice experiences with the guys. I have followed DTM closely during my time in Formula 1 and have been to some races to visit and support the team.

"Things have changed a lot in DTM since my last race at the season finale at Hockenheim 2015. But I like challenges and I cannot wait to get on track for the first time with our new car. The first tests cannot be here soon enough."

Joining Wehrlein in the 2018 line-up will be Paul di Resta, Gary Paffett, Lucas Auer and Edoardo Mortara. It will be Mercedes' last season in DTM, as it will then focus its resources on Formula E, the all-electric open wheel racing series.

"Pascal quickly established himself in DTM and became the youngest champion in the history of the series in 2015,” said Mercedes DTM boss Ulrich Fritz. "The joy in the team about Pascal returning to DTM for our final year is huge.

"Many friendships were built at the time when Pascal was with us and even when he was racing in Formula 1, we didn't lose contact. In the meantime, DTM has changed with new cars, new tyres and new regulations. But we are confident that, with his experience and commitment, he will adapt quickly."

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (6)

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  • I feel like the grid lost two drivers that sorta werent ready to get ditched yet. Wehrlein was far from a bad choice, yet it almost seems like e.g Williams didnt even consider him. And Kvyat, while being pretty average, had a much better debut in F1 compared to Toro Rosso's current lineup. I dont know, I hope Sirotkin does well enough, and its far too early to really say anything about Gasly and Hartley.

    • + 0
    • Feb 7 2018 - 18:23
    • Wherlein's timing was pretty unlucky. I agree he should have been considered by both Sauber and Williams. Sauber stuck with arguably the worst driver on the grid, Marcus Ericsson (no offense to Sweden because of sponsorship reasons (aka big money) and Leclerc came in through Ferrari ties, and also talent. He actually seems very promising. Williams? Well, I'm sure you've seen my rants against them elsewhere over the driver situation, so I will spare you having to read it again :)

      • + 0
      • Feb 7 2018 - 23:08
    • Yeah he sure was. I dunno if Ericsson is the worst, but he certainly isnt what I'd call F1 material. If he outshines Leclerc this year I migth need to reconsider that though, but I doubt it'll happen. Im curious about Leclerc, for sure, but so am I to see what Wehrlein would be able to do in e.g a Force India. But that aint likely. TBH, we have many promising drivers incoming, and just one move could help many get a chance. Sadly, that move is a Räikkönen retirement.

      • + 0
      • Feb 8 2018 - 17:01
  • Barron

    Posts: 625

    He didn’t really stand out though did he? He seemed to me to be mediocre at best, pretty similar to his DTM teammate DiResta. Of course, this is merely an opinion but he failed to show on my radar the whole time he was in F1, so it may just be me. It’s quite strange, F1 stars never do (did) well in DTM and the reverse is also true, DTM stars never shine in F1. Just to think, McLaren held an evaluation session between Gary Paffet (DTM) McLaren’s (at the time) Development Driver and Lewis Hamilton to decide who got the single F1 seat available. Hamilton pipped Paffet by a few hundredths and the rest, as they say, is history. Paffet is no slouch but it’s hard to imagine he could have achieved the things that Lewis has. So Gary went back to DTM and relative obscurity as, I’m pretty sure, will Pascal. Interestingly, there’ll be a lot of ex DTM hot shoes looking for work next year!

    • + 0
    • Feb 8 2018 - 10:58
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,168

      @BARRON Correct, he didn't make an impression. Don't think he was a bad driver, the interviews I saw with him it was more of case of a driver with an bad attitude,coming across as rather arrogant.

      • + 0
      • Feb 8 2018 - 12:40
    • I dunno, I liked what he did with that Manor, but he hasnt exactly dominated Ericsson, a pretty mediocre driver at best IMO.

      • + 0
      • Feb 8 2018 - 17:02

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