Manor signs DTM cham­pion Wehrlein as Mercedes-backed driv­ers land F1 roles

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Mercedes-backed driv­ers Pas­cal Wehrlein and Este­ban Ocon have both se­cured For­mula 1 chances this year, with Wehrlein join­ing Manor as its first race driver.

Wehrlein’s deal was an­nounced last week. The 21-year-old be­came the youngest DTM cham­pion last sea­son when driv­ing for Mercedes HWA. Wehrlein’s ap­point­ment strength­ens Manor’s links to the Ger­man firm, which will sup­ply its power units for 2015.

Wehrlein said: “Manor Rac­ing is a great place for me to start my F1 rac­ing ca­reer. It’s a small and to­tally fo­cused team and I soon hope to know ev­ery­one.

“Though it’s my first F1 sea­son my aim is to help Stephen [Fitz­patrick, owner] and the guys achieve their goals.

“It will be a tough chal­lenge, but we should be able to chal­lenge for points along the way.”

Manor has yet to sign its se­cond race driver, leav­ing that as the sole avail­able seat on the grid. Bri­ton Will Stevens has been linked with a re­turn to the team.

Mean­while, GP3 Se­ries cham­pion Ocon has joined Re­nault Sport F1 Team as its re­serve driver, as well as rac­ing in the DTM with Mercedes this year.

Mercedes head Toto Wolff said both Wehrlein and Ocon had earned their op­por­tu­ni­ties this year: “It is very pleas­ing to see young driv­ers earn­ing their spot in F1 on merit and to see that tal­ent is be­ing re­warded by the sys­tem.

“Pas­cal and Este­ban have proven them­selves to be amongst the top young driv­ers out there – and both come into 2016 as cham­pi­ons of their re­spec­tive se­ries. But they still have plenty to learn and they will be stay­ing hum­ble, with their feet on the ground.

“Our aim is to build their ex­pe­ri­ence in the best pos­si­ble en­vi­ron­ment and, fol­low­ing pos­i­tive dis­cus­sions with our coun­ter­parts at Manor and Re­nault, it be­came clear that their re­spec­tive F1 pro­grammes pre­sented ideal op­por­tu­ni­ties to achieve that.”

Manor has last va­cant seat in F1

Wehrlein has Manor chance

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