Wehrlein ‘will be ready’ for Mercedes call-up in 2017

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In the round-up: Pascal Wehrlein says he intends to be ready for a promotion to Mercedes next year if the opportunity arises.

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David has a different interpretation to mine for why Red Bull put Daniel Ricciardo on a three-stop strategy:

Ricciardo was running out of tyres (being gained on by both Verstappen and Vettel, even without the Haryanto incident) and Red Bull opted to go to the three stop strategy as soon as they realised he was not going to be able to complete the race competitively on two.

Ferrari shadowed Ricciardo to cover him off which was a valid decision at the time (valid in the sense that Alonso shadowing Webber was back in 2010), however Vettel probably could have completed the race on two stops easily if he needed to as he had stayed out longer on the first stint than the other leaders.

Ricciardo then did sensible stints for the remaining part of the race. Ferrari meanwhile completely wasted their middle stint, I suspect they pulled Vettel in as soon as they were confident he could make it to the end on the final set of mediums, and this guaranteed track position over Ricciardo, but it wasted the tyre advantage and left them well out of touch of Verstappen and Raikkonen, who had enough of a time advantage to nurse their cars to the end.

Not so much a tactical decision by Red Bull as a decision driven out of necessity. And a rash response by Ferrari, who could have won this race with Vettel if they had stayed out.

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On this day in F1

A bizarre Monaco Grand Prix resulted in the final victory for Ligier and the only F1 win for Olivier Panis.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Wehrlein ‘will be ready’ for Mercedes call-up in 2017”

  1. Aqib (@aqibqadeer)
    19th May 2016, 1:58

    regarding COTD, i think we should acknowledge that it was vettel who was pushing for a 3-stop as he admitted afterwards so we cannot blame ferrari entirely

  2. Is it just me or is Pascal Wehrlein yet to show anything really impressive in F1 machinery? I don’t mean he should be winning race or scoring loads of points in that car, but Rio has been much much closer to him than I expected. I’d be considering many drivers before him for that seat should a spot open up.

    1. I think his race in Bahrain was pretty impressive (nearly in Q2 as well), and so was his pre-red flag period in Australia. Since, the Manor seems to have been dropped back a little in pace so there hasn’t been many cars separating them, but Wehrlein still is comfortably ahead of Haryanto in the races, although in qualifying he’s not dominating so far (apart from Bahrain). As @philipgb mentioned Bianchi, I think their early performances are really similar (with Haryanto and Chilton as similar “benchmarks”), and even though Wehrlein’s not beating his teammate in quali, he does pretty much the same in race.

    2. If this seat does become available, I’m afraid young Pascal would find himself way down the list of drivers Merc would consider.

      As far as I’m concerned, Button would be the obvious choice. Think about it.

      He doesn’t yet have a contract for next year, it’s his old team so he knows them and how they work, he’s worked some what successfully with Hamilton in the past and he’s still one of the finest drivers on the grid.

      He’ll push Hamilton just as hard as Rosberg, will be a fantastic ambassador for the team and will bring some calm. Not that I think Rosberg is the cause of all the issues though.

      I just don’t see why Mercedes would bother with Alonso. Why pay out his contract with McLaren and possibly bring even more tension into the team when they could get Button cheaper with less hassle. After all, Alonso is WAY overpaid compared to Button, who beat Alonso last year need I remind everyone, and Magnusson before that, and Perez before that AND Hamilton before that.

      It makes sense to me!

      1. Frankly I’d love to see Button in the Mercedes.

        I like the Rosberg-Hamilton duo in that they certainly push each other. I love that the championship is a contest. However, after three years I think it’d be nice to see a new line up.

        But to be honest, I will be really, really surprised if either Merc guys leave. No one would give up that seat assuming they had a choice and I really can’t see Toto giving either the boot.

      2. Jenson wouldn’t have done that GP3 swerve across the track @nick101, but he’s not exactly the future is he? As for beating Hamilton, he was faster in 3 races per season, even in 2011.

        Alonso is 3 years younger and much more exciting. He is what Merc need to get Bernie off their back, have the cameras on them and fend off Ricci + Max. He’d be more competitive than JB, and like Lewis but unlike Rosberg know how to position his car in close combat and when to yield.

        1. @lockup Rosberg has proven himself to be a much better driver than Button ever was on all fronts, and that’s not just my opinion but one many share.

          1. I agree Rosberg is better @xtwl, tho I’d say ‘a bit’ better rather than ‘much’. A tenth maybe. But what do Mercedes want? One thing is less bare hostility and the elephant in that room is that Lewis regards Nico as a serial cheat. Irrespective of what each of us fans thinks actually happened, we know that’s how Lewis see him.

            Rosberg offers his nationality for the home fans, continuity, and the pace to keep Lewis on his toes and win whenever he slips. But also an awful lot of strife and complaining and a tendency to either lose or cost places in T1, and that relationship that will always lack respect.

            Even if Jenson, or Pascal, were to come 3rd when Nico would have come 2nd, that has to happen 14 times to catch up with the double DNF we just saw.

          2. @lockup The elephant in the room is that Lewis regards Nico as a serial cheat? No, you do. The only elephant is the rivalry, which Wolff, even in the heat of the moment after ‘the incident’ said they are better at handling.

            Not that it matters, because the team seems to think things are pretty even steven between the two drivers, as when LH can’t be there Nico is, but what must Nico think of LH going back to the US?

            Pushed me off the track and immediately apologized ie. overcooked it and wasn’t in control of his car and I saved the day by going wide and not letting LH take us both out. LH wins the WDC that day and the thanks I and the team get from LH (who now decides for himself the season is done) is desperate settings cranking and strategy calls against the team’s wishes in the next races. Hasn’t started as well as me this season and even last weekend I took him on the outside of T1, and again he overcooks it only this time takes me out while I was doing what people expect of WDC level drivers…taking no prisoners.

            Yeah I don’t think Nico has anything to be contrite about. Certainly not in his mind anyway. Nor mine.

          3. You won’t find any quotes from Lewis saying Nico didn’t cheat @robbie. You’ll only find ‘he’ll do anything to beat me’ and ‘Nico admitted he did it on purpose’.

            As for the US ’15, the whole fuss about T1 was that Lewis defended the cutback then came off the brakes and gave Nico a safe little nudge wheel-to-wheel. He was 100% in control, if not 110% :) The team were pretty neutral about it, because they could see it was gormless for Rosberg to try and go round the outside there without an overlap. Then he moaned about it. Then he fell off in the lead. Altogether that race was a perfect example of why they should want Fernando.

          4. @xtwl

            “…Rosberg has proven himself to be a much better driver than Button ever was on all fronts, and that’s not just my opinion but one many share…”

            Exactly how has Rosberg PROVEN anything compared to Button??? He’s a better qualifier, I’ll give you that, but what has he PROVEN and HOW exactly?

            The ONLY comparison you can make between Button and Rosberg is that they’ve both been Hamilton’s team mates. By the time Button had been team mates for Hamilton for 2 years he’d already beaten Hamilton once, so how exactly has Rosberg PROVEN that he is better than Button on all fronts??

            Please enlighten us…

          5. Lol so you are suggesting LH intentional hit Nico but made sure with not just 100% but ‘110%’ accuracy to make it a ‘harmless’ wheel to wheel contact? And that’s ok with you? And nothing like that would ever happen with FA? Wow….just wow!!! Biased much?

          6. Yes in open-wheel racing @robbie you don’t go round the outside unless you’re well ahead, so that the guy inside on the racing line can’t stay on the racing line when it flows, with absolute inevitability, to the outside of the track leaving you, er, off the track :)

            I can’t remember Nando doing that, tho my memory is an imperfect thing I have to admit. If he has done, I reckon it’s less often. Oh Monza with Vettel istr, what did you think?

            I don’t know about bias. I have preferences, mostly based on their behaviour and if I find them admirable. I’m not too fussed about nationality if that’s what you’re thinking; I’m not super keen on JB for example and I couldn’t stand Mansell.

          7. @lockup We’ll have to agree to disagree on that US incident that saw Nico already on the outside because LH had dived inside him and was overcooking it. Nico didn’t ‘try to go outside LH’ like you like to make it sound. Ask yourself why LH immediately got on the radio and said he didn’t do it on purpose. NR was where he was…LH interfered with him, hence the radio comm.

            Your bias that I refer
            to is that LH and seemingly FA can do no wrong and NR is always wrong.

          8. Your bias that I refer to is that LH and seemingly FA can do no wrong and NR is always wrong.

            Sounds like consistency to me @robbie :)
            No I used to like Rosberg, then he cheated. It’s not bias I just accept the evidence. I used to like Alonso, then disliked him, then got to like him again. Lewis is generally my kind of racing driver, though I dislike a few things about him.

            Anyway it seems clear to me Toto is looking at Nico, Pascal and Nando. Carelessly the team have not yet asked me what they should do and meantime who can guess how he’s weighing them up, apart from the solid fact that he hasn’t sighed any of them? And I daresay the Daimler Board will want to get involved while knowing less than you and me, which is another random element.

          9. @lockup Lol well for Nico’s sake I sure hope they don’t ask you, but I have a feeling they’ve already made their mind up. I doubt they’d want the attention taken off them by signing a relative rookie to not pressure LH and thus remove the show there, and they were not looking at FA, he approached them, as I’m sure other drivers did too, because that’s what they do. If they don’t at least ask, then they certainly won’t get in.

      3. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        19th May 2016, 9:56

        Nick you are dreaming. Hamilton would outqualify Button in almost every race and they would lead a processional 1-2 home most of the time.

        1. Yes yes yes, we’ve heard it all before.

          ‘Button isn’t good enough’, ‘Button just got lucky’, ‘Button is just a midfield driver’, etc. etc. etc.

          Let me guess – Hamilton would SMASH Button right?? Now where have I heard that before?

          Just like Alonso was going to EMBARRASS Button before that? Just like Magnusson was going to show Button up before that? Just like Perez was going to beat Button before that?

          Honestly, how many team mates does Button have to beat before this nonsense comes to an end? Of all the ‘top 3’ drivers on the grid, Vettel is the only one who Button hasn’t been team mates with driving the same car – and incidentally the only ‘top 3’ driver on the grid who Button hasn’t beat. Hmmm…

          But that’s right, Button has just been lucky hasn’t he! I’ll tell you what, I don’t really know why Button bothers driving for a fee. He should just do it for free and fund his lifestyle with lottery tickets. After all, he has to be the luckiest bloke in the world – he would win the lottery every week! He’s just plain lucky that guy! Year after year, team mate after beaten team mate, it’s just pure luck!

          What a lucky guy!

      4. @nick101 I actually thought something similar after the last race – remember the amount of wheel to wheel racing Hamilton and Button got up to without putting each other out. As soon as I saw the replay of the Rosberg-Hamilton incident my first thought was; why can’t Nico seem to get close to Hamilton without there being a collision?

        I’m not convinced that Button on current form would necessarily be any better than Nico on current form, but in a car as good as the Merc he should be able to do as good a job with less friction and incidents. However, the reality is that Nico has a good chance of taking this year’s WDC and I can’t see the team booting out a “German” WDC and I can’t see Nico walking away from the dream manufacturer therefore it’s unlikely that the chance will open up for Wehrlein, Button or anyone else.

        1. Oh agree! I’m not suggesting for a minute that Mercedes would or should drop Rosberg in favour of Button. This conversation came about with the suggestion that Rosberg might pack up and go to Ferrari.

          However unlikely you think that might be, if it does happen, I believe the best AVAILABLE driver to replace him would be Button.

          There’s a reason he has been one of the highest paid drivers in the top teams for so long – and it’s not luck.

          We’ve seen him prove himself time and time again beating team mate after new team mate and is currently the ONLY driver on the grid who has EVER beaten Hamilton and Alonso in the same machinery. If I’m not mistaken these are 2 of the so called ‘Top 3’ drivers on the grid.

          He has taken down the hot, new, young talents and the old, experienced, wise racers on the grid – time and time again, yet all we ever hear from his doubters is ‘he’s not good enough’ or similar nonsense.

          Honestly, I don’t really know what more he has to do.

    3. I agree, I’m afraid Wehrlein will be well down the order if Mercedes decide to change a driver. He drove well in Bahrain but like you said there hasn’t been a great deal between him and Haryanto and Mercedes must be a bit disappointed by that so far. I can’t see the line-up changing for another couple of years anyway though.

  3. Wehrlein is going to have a tough time standing out if we’re fair to him. Bianchi at least had Caterham to race against and a team mate he could easily destroy. I don’t think Haryanto is a special talent but from his feeder series results you can see he is there or thereabouts on pace.

    I don’t think we’ll get a good indicator of Wehrlein until we see some wet sessions.

  4. ColdFly F1 (@)
    19th May 2016, 6:16

    Ferrari, who could have won this race with Vettel if they had stayed out.

    I don’t think this would or could have happened. Staying out was not an option for Ferrari; they proved that with Raikkonen. Between RBR and Ferrari the undercut was the only reliable way to pass the car in front, especially if that car was a Red Bull. Thus staying out longer for Vettel would not have worked. Verstappen was on a 2-stopper already, and he proved to be super-cool in driving a solid sector 3 to always have enough buffer to stay ahead of the car chasing him on the start-finish straight.

    1. But with a 2 stopper, Vettel would have been ahead of the pair of Verstappen and Kimi wouldn’t he @coldfly?

      1. No, Red Bull were leading 1-2 before they switched Dan onto a 3-stopper. If Vet hadn’t followed suit he’d have been stuck behind Max the same way Kimi was (assuming he too could not make the pass) due to the Red Bull being stronger in S3 @bascb.

        Vettel’s 3-stop strategy was about 2 things; firstly, catching and passing Max and Kimi on track or inheriting track position if they had to switch to a 3-stop, and secondly, undercutting Dan at their 3rd and final stop.

        They went super early on the 3rd stop to ensure they got past Dan, but otherwise the 3-stopper didn’t achieve what they’d expected. If Vettel had stayed ahead of Max on the first lap he’d have had his win, but once Max was back past the writing was on the wall.

        1. Yeah, off course you are right @sparkyamg, my mistake! Vettel was only ahead after Ricciardo and Verstappen had pitted for their first stops and Vettel had not yet stopped (in the early part of the race).

        2. Vettel didn’t have much of a chance to keep Verstappen behind. He got the tow, just like Rosberg who slipstreamed past Hamilton.

  5. All in the past, is it?
    Good luck with that, Nico – to promote and build up to the showpiece Monaco Grand Prix in true F1 style, there’ll be a whole week of press conferences and interviews banging on about things that happened in the last race.

    1. and in the past years of the Monaco GP too @bullfrog. Yeah, I don’t think it will be that easy to leave things in the past just like that.

  6. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    19th May 2016, 8:41

    I get the feeling that Wehrlein will replace Rosberg next season at Mercedes, with Nico moving to Ferrari possibly. It just seems like the paring of Lewis and Nico is too frictional for Mercedes to properly handle it.

    Just a gut feeling.

    1. I personally don’t think Rosberg will be a good fit at Ferrari though. All those digs Vettel has given him over the last few years in post race interviews have shown that Vettel has a stronger mindset. Although where else?

      1. What if Rosberg wins the WDC?

    2. These tensions give Mercedes enormous amount of publicity. Why would this be a bad thing? @tophercheese21

    3. It’s too early to judge whether Wehrlein is any good to begin with. He’d have to pull off a Bianchi and get that car in the points on at least one occassion to really make an impact. The Manor of this year isn’t as bad as the Marrussia that Bianchi took to the points, so let’s see how Pascal fares.

      Honestly, on the current grid I could think of at least 2 or 3 more able drivers than Pascal who deserve that seat. But maybe, just maybe, Mercedes would want him in because there is no way he is good enough to challenge the #1 driver in the team and they can do away with the inter team rivalry that has been causing them so much stress.

  7. I think it’s pretty clear now that a rookie driver needs to choose what team he/she wants to be associated with, at an very young age. Vandoorne, Verstappen, Wehrlein, Bianchi, Sainz, Kvyat, Magnussen etc, they all got got into, or were destined to get, a seat in at a top team.
    The likes of Perez, Hulkenberg, Grosjean however are now overlooked. Somehow top teams don’t seem interested in them, even though they are much more experienced then the next exciting rookie.
    Association seems now more important then experience.

  8. Wow, Panis’ Monaco GP win was 20 years ago today. Way to make a guy feel old. :)

    I honestly remember that race like it was yesterday, it was just mad. The list of talking points was endless: Hill lost out on a chance to emulate his father by winning in Monaco while leading comfortably, Schumacher crashed out, the endless retirements, a bonkers pile up involving Salo, Hakkinen and Irvine and then finally Panis’s popular win for the most bonkers of the French Equipe’s, Ligier.

    1. @geemac

      I feel old too! Great memories.

  9. I don’t agree with COTD. Where is is shown that RIC was running out of tyres? I know it has been noted in comments on many web sites, that Verstappen said it in the media. However I can neither find a reference to this in the media anywhere or any evidence of it on track.

    The facts as I see them are that RIC opened up a 1.5 second gap on VES at the start of the race and then maintained that. Yes it fluctuated a bit and VES got within 1 second at one point, however RIC then increased it to 1.5 seconds within a lap or two. What all that say to me is that RIC was managing his tyres and making sure VES was outside DRS. Also, VES was keeping far enough back from RIC to ensure his tyres weren’t damaged. Smart from both drivers. Was RIC going slower than VES could have gone? 100% yes. Was RIC going slower than he could have gone? 100% yes. Both drivers were managing the gap and their tyres.

    After the first stop, I am 100% sure that Verstappen was better on his tyres than RIC. He was on a 2 stopper and RIC was on a 3 stopper. On a 2 stopper you look after your tyres. On a 3 stopper you push them harder. Duh!

    In 2014, RIC was able to make his tyres last longer than VET. It was his strength. I am not sure how after one race where the 2 drivers were on 2 different strategies, that somehow it is now a fact that RIC is harder on his tyres. People forget that RAI also made his tyres last as long as VES. Does that mean that RAI is better on his tyres than VET? And RIC? How about the rest of the field? Or maybe they were just on a 2 stopper and that was their job.

    VES deserved the win. He drove well. There was no conspiracy. Both Ferrari and RBR put the drivers most likely to win the race on 3 stoppers because they thought that it gave them the best chance of winning. In hindsight, both Ferrari and RBR got it wrong. Strategy ruled the race and a roll of the dice could have seen any one of the top 4 drivers finish that race in first position. VES rolled a 6 and won. It so easily could have been Kimi passing him, and then both their tyres failing while RIC and VET fought out the lead.

    People seem to be buying into the VES hype too much. Maybe he is the iPhone and a game changer, but he could easily turn out to be the iWatch. Just another good watch. RIC is the Android. A solid performer with little hype, but it may just win the battle.

    What I take out of this is that there is now another driver that can pick up the pieces when Merc fail. Previously it was only RIC and VET. Now there is VES and that is good for the sport. However, people seem to buy into the hype and read the tea leaves too much after one race. There is a whole season to go yet and RIC won’t be a walkover. VES is very good, but so is RIC. They are going to keep each other honest and I would be surprised to see either of them dominate the other.

    I see a boil over coming in the not too distant future too. Last question. Who out of RIC and VES will crash into the other and be most a fault. It will probably be the one most desperate, but who will that be?

    1. The only problem is Red Bull. They might even the equation a bit for the “No. 2”. Like Webber did and has since suggested.

  10. Hi Keith,

    Ever thought of adding a user comments section to your web site. In Aus and probably elsewhere, we have a website called “The Roar” which comments on a few sports, but I follow Rugby Union.


    On the LHS, we have the stories from the paid journalists. On the RHS, we have user submitted stories. These stories are vetted by the moderator for validity and content. They are articles that allow people to write a long comment about an issue. They are clearly distinguishable for the main stories. Some of the submitted stories are submitted for purely comical reasons. Some for serious comment. Some are one sided. Most are a worthy read. It has built a very good following of passionate people.

    You have a very healthy and it seems “often” intelligent section of readers. Maybe you could give them some space to voice their opinions. I am sure a lot would be able to post worthy articles. I have felt passionate enough to write a few articles, but only one has been published. (Probably a good thing). It does build a very god following of people trying to get their articles published and The Roar has a number of prolific publishers with intelligent views. And they do it for free!

  11. http://www.eurosport.com/formula-1/ranking-the-f1-chassis-after-barcelona_sto5577481/story.shtml

    What do you guys think of this?Is Red Bulls chassis better than Mercedes one?

  12. I can see Rosberg at Williams in the not to distant future IMO.. I’d love to see Ricciardo at Mercedes but he’s got Ferrari waiting to pounce I think..

  13. This engine thing confuses me. If Honda has an exclusive contract with McLaren (which, I think, was noted last year when Honda did want to supply another team, in order to get in more testing), but the FIA tries to force them to supply another team…. Then what? Does this turn into a huge battle of lawyers, grinding everything to a stop while they figure it out? Does the FIA directive trump the existing contract between McLaren and Honda? Has anyone seen any info on it? I’ve tried searching around, and haven’t been able to find anything.

    1. If the rules make is compulsory for Engine suppliers to supply, then Mclaren’s and Hondas contract becomes void. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mclaren vetos which team gets the Honda engine though, behind closed doors of course.

  14. So Rosberg is surprised people are still talking about a race that happened not a week ago?
    Good on you maybe you should race in private if you expect silence all over from the fans.

    1. Actually he says it surprises him but that he understands it and that for him it is over. M

      1. Oops hit M by mistake as I was posting.

    2. He just doesn’t want to talk about it obviously. He got away with what he did and wants to leave it at that. Besides he only gained from it, so why would he worry about it anyway.

  15. Wehrlein testing…..a message to Lewis and Rosberg……behave or else….anyone is replaceable.

    1. Oh don’t get lockup started back up, lol. Of course if he reads this he’ll flip out at your suggestion LH is replaceable.

      1. So it was too difficult @robbie, you had to get personal :/

        1. That was personal?

    2. Don’t read too much into it. A Hamilton is not replaceable, Rosberg on the other hand

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