Wehrlein accepts he ‘wasn’t ready’ for Mercedes F1 chance

Pascal Wehrlein says he understands why Toto Wolff decided that one year of experience in Formula 1 was not enough to justify a promotion to Mercedes for 2017.

Wehrlein accepts he ‘wasn’t ready’ for Mercedes F1 chance
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber C36, leads Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, lifts a wheel bouncing over a kerb
Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber
Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber C36
Valtteri Bottas, Williams

Wehrlein was one of the main candidates to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, with his career having been guided by the German car manufacturer for several years.

But despite Rosberg’s retirement opening up the perfect opportunity for Wehrlein to get a top seat after a rookie campaign with Manor, the young German has revealed that Wolff was hesitant because it too was early.

“That is what he said,” explained Wehrlein about the conversation he had with Wolff on the matter. “One year of experience is not enough. It was quite clear.

"He said, ‘We think it would be good for you to have more experience, one year was not enough and especially in the second year, drivers are always making big progress.’

“I think Mercedes wants to have a ready driver and a perfect driver, who is at his limit. At the moment I am not on my limit where I could be, because of the experience and that is quite clear.”

Despite Mercedes’ reservations about the matter – and Wehrlein’s acknowledgement he hasn't reached his peak – he said he would not have turned the chance down if it was given to him.

“If the chance is there, you have to take it,” he said. “I think it was not too much. Of course with one year of experience you are not at your limit and you will do some mistakes.

"You will sometimes go in the wrong direction with the set-up because you are lacking the experience.

“It is something normal if you have five years of experience in F1 or even more, you know, the mistakes – they will be a lot less than with one year.”

No disappointment

Even though a Mercedes seat would have given him the chance to race at the front, Wehrlein said that ultimately there was no big disappointment in losing out to Valtteri Bottas.

“I knew I was one of the candidates, one of the possible drivers, but I didn’t focus on that,” he said.

“I’m not taking the decision, so I focused on my training, what I can do better for this year, and then wait until the decision was made.”

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