It has been confirmed that Mercedes Junior driver Pascal Wehrlein will drive for Sauber for 2017. The German was tipped as one of the candidates to fill Nico Rosberg’s position at the silver arrows. The confirmation of the Sauber drive all but confirms that Valtteri Bottas will be with the team this season.
Wehrlein made his Formula 1 debut last year for the fledgling Manor squad, bringing the team points in Austria. He has now become one of the sports rising stars, however his inexperience is what lead Mercedes to place him within Sauber. Having already confirmed Macrus Erricsson as Wehrlein’s team mate, it remains to be seen where Felipe Nasr will go, having lost his backing from his major sponsor.
Speaking about the news, Wehrlein set his hopes for the coming season: “It is a new challenge in a new team, and I am really excited and looking forward to this new adventure. Our objective is to establish ourselves in the midfield and to score points on a regular basis.” He will be hoping to help turn Sauber’s fortunes around after a poor run of form. The team endured one of it’s worst seasons on record, scoring just 2 points to finish 10th in the constructors standings.
Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber’s team principle added: “Pascal has shown his talent throughout his career – in single seater racing as well as in the DTM. Last year in his rookie Formula 1 season, he proved his potential by scoring one point in the Austrian GP in Spielberg.” The team will presumably benefit from a funding boost as part of the package that Mercedes has offered to get Wehrlein in the car. Previously, Mercedes provided a discounted engine package to Manor to put Wehrlein in their car. However, Sauber currently utilise Ferrari power units, Mercedes’ closest competitor. It remains to be seen how this will affect Wehrlein, who has only driven cars with the Mercedes units.
Sauber currently haven’t announced when we will see their 2017 challenger, it can be assumed that it will be before the first of two winter tests. Both will take place in Barcelona over 8 days between February 27th and March 10th. This will most likely be the first time we see Pascal Wehrlein in Sauber colours.
Picture: Pascal Wehrlein