Former Mercedes reserve driver and 2015 DTM Champion Pascal Wehrlein will make his F1 debut in Melbourne, as he is about to embark on a maiden campaign at Manor Racing. The minnows, who escaped the clutches of administration as Marussia at the end of 2014, are looking to move up the grid this season. With Wehrlein’s talent pairing with what has become a strong and experienced team of engineers, Manor are well equipped for a marked improvement.
“Manor Racing is a great place for me to start my Formula One racing career,” the 21-year-old stated. “I’m very pleased to be here. 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] and the guys achieve their goals. It will be a tough challenge but I think we should be able to challenge for points along the way. It’s going to be good fun.”
Wehrlein is yet another visible link to the double world champions Mercedes. Manor will be receiving powerunits from Brixworth in 2016, in a technical relationship which should help elevate the back-markers to a midfield position. Wehrlein, who is the leading light in Mercedes’ young driver programme, has already targeted points in his maiden season and matches the ambitions of his new team.
Very feasible ambitions given the strong winter of appointments and alliances developed by the team. Wehrlein will bring consistency to the table for Manor, as demonstrated by his championship winning campaign in DTM last year. The German scored points in 15 of a possible 18 races. He managed to overhaul a 17 point deficit over two time champion Mattias Ekstrom. It was a title winning campaign which highlighted just how good Wehrlein already is.
Certainly, an old head on young shoulders. The German is undoubtedly ready for a shot in F1 and is yet another future champion on the 2016 grid.