Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

Pascal Wehrlein: "I definitely feel I'm ready for Mercedes F1 race seat"

Pascal Wehrlein believes he is ready to step up to race for the Mercedes Formula 1 team as a replacement for Nico Rosberg.

Pascal Wehrlein: "I definitely feel I'm ready for Mercedes F1 race seat"

Pascal Wehrlein believes he is ready to step up to race for the Mercedes Formula 1 team as a replacement for Nico Rosberg.

The slot at the triple world champion Mercedes squad opened up after Rosberg shocked F1 by announcing his retirement just five days after he was clinched the world title at the 2016 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Since the German racer revealed his decision ahead of the FIA prize giving gala in Vienna, much of the focus has been on which driver Mercedes will sign to partner Lewis Hamilton in 2017.

Nico Rosberg

Speaking at the Autosport awards last night, Wehrlein, who won the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award at the event in London, outlined his belief that he could perform for Mercedes after a single season racing in F1 for the Manor team.

He said: "Of course one season in Formula 1 is not a lot but I learned all the tracks now and I learned how the tyres are working. I feel like I've had a strong season and I'm ready to make the step up.

"There is still a lot to learn for me but I'm happy with the progress I'm making. It's important for me to know I'm not on my limit now. I haven't reached my limit – there is still a lot of time coming. After this year, I definitely feel I'm ready."

Pascal Wehrlein

The 22-year-old scored Manor’s only point of 2016 when he finished tenth at the Austrian Grand Prix, and he also shone in qualifying for the British team by making it through to Q2 on five occasions during his rookie campaign.

Wehrlein revealed that he had spoken to Mercedes’ motorsport boss Toto Wolff about the possibility of signing for the manufacturer’s works team, but he does not yet know when the squad will make a decision.

He said: "There is no news at the moment, but as expected every driver is calling him. Everyone wants to grab this unbelievable opportunity to join the Mercedes team.

"I understand they want to go for the best option, that they want to have a bit more time, or the time they need to decide which one they think will be the best one for the team."

Toto Wolff Pascal Wehrlein

Wehrlein, who won the 2015 DTM title before moving to Manor, is part of Mercedes’ young driver programme, but despite that close link he explained that he would not be pestering Wolff about Rosberg’s vacant seat for fear of harming his chances.

He said: "The team knows I would love to drive for them, the tests I did were great. I cannot call them every day to say ,'what's happening?' I don't want to be annoying.

"I'm there if they think I'm the right person for the team. I will do whatever I have to do and whatever is necessary to deliver. I just have to wait now."

Pascal Wehrlein

Wehrlein acknowledged that he would not be the most experienced candidate in F1 that could potentially join Mercedes, but he referenced the work he has done for the team on Pirelli’s new-for-2017 tyres, a factor that he believes could work in his favour.

He said: "One season in F1 is not a lot but I feel ready for the job and confident. I'm sure Toto's phone is overheating after Friday.

"I've done most days with the 2017 tyres and I think it's very important to have that experience."

The results of a poll of JAonF1 readers that was included in the news of Rosberg’s retirement last week revealed that 1,422 out of 7,648 people who took part thought Wehrlein was the most likely contender to replace the world champion, which is 18.59 per cent of the total vote.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-11-10-02

That is some way behind the 3,069 people who thought Mercedes would pick McLaren driver Fernando Alonso (40.13 per cent), but ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas’ 1,248 votes (16.32 per cent).

What do you make of Wehrlein’s comments? Do you think he will move to Mercedes for 2017? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
shares
comments
Mercedes now "fine" with Hamilton Abu Dhabi tactics

Previous article

Mercedes now "fine" with Hamilton Abu Dhabi tactics

Next article

Mercedes considering Alonso as Rosberg's replacement

Mercedes considering Alonso as Rosberg's replacement
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Prime

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021