Sauber confirms Wehrlein as Ericsson’s team mate

2017 F1 season

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Pascal Wehrlein will join Sauber for his second season of F1 in 2017, the team has confirmed.

Pascal Wehrlein biography
The news rules Wehrlein out of the vacant Mercedes seat alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Wehrlein said the team’s goal for the upcoming season is to “establish ourselves in the midfield and to score points on a regular basis”.

“Now I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the team and to tackling the preparations for the 2017 season. I want to say a big thank you to Sauber for trusting in me and giving me this great chance. And surely, a huge thanks also goes to Mercedes for the support.”

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said Wehrlein has “shown his talent throughout his career – in single seater racing as well as in the DTM”.

“Last year in his rookie Formula One season he proved his potential by scoring one point in the Austrian GP in Spielberg. There is surely more to come from Pascal and we want to give him the chance to further grow and learn at the pinnacle of motorsport.”

Wehrlein joins Marcus Ericsson in Sauber’s line-up for the new season. “I am confident Marcus and Pascal will form a solid combination for 2017,” added Kaltenborn.

Wehrlein has taken the seat previously occupied by Felipe Nasr. The Brazilian’s hopes of keeping a place in F1 now appear to rest on whether the struggling Manor team can find a new investor by the end of the week.

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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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15 comments on “Sauber confirms Wehrlein as Ericsson’s team mate”

  1. That’s Bottas and Massa all but confirmed then I suppose. It will be interesting to see how Wehrlein does against Ericsson, who has really shown improvement since his debut.

  2. This is not really a step-up in his carreer. As it’s more and more likely, Manor will not be around for 2017 so he’ll still be in the slowest car on track. He must feel so down after not being considered for ROS replacement and after seeing Ocon swoop in mid-season and get a drive in the best car outside of big 3.

    Unfortunately for Pascal, he’s done nothing wrong so far and from time to time even showed flashes of briliancy but he’s at a stage in his F1 career where he needs to prove himself or go home. But he doesn’t have the material to do it or the chances to advance to a car that at least can fight for points. If nothing extraordinary from him happens this year, i’m afraid he’ll not be in F1 for long.

  3. “Wehrlein said the team’s goal for the upcoming season is to “establish ourselves in the midfield and to score points on a regular basis”.”

    Good luck with that, 2016 Ferrari engine and all. Though I do expect him to outperform Ericsson.

    Does this mean his Mercedes ties have been cut?

    1. @hugh11 no, wehrlein still very much a mercedes driver.

      people are taking this to mean sauber to switch to mercedes engines in 2018 (i’m guessing it would be expensive to buy out of the ferrari contract for 2017).

  4. So overall,

    Regarding new drivers:
    Vandoorne in –> Button out
    Stroll in –> Bottas moves –> Rosberg out

    Regarding existing drivers:
    Wehrlein to Sauber –> Nasr out
    Ocon to FI –> Hulk to Renault –> KMag to Haas –> Esteban out

  5. As it was rumored, so this more or less confirms Bottas move. I am still not very sure about the news on Massa – or Adrian Sutil is making a come back?

    1. Oh no, not Sutil… last I heard he was thinking about GT racing, but I don’t know if any GT teams are thinking about him!… he’s slipped waayy down the pecking order now. If anyone, Paul diResta is closer to a drive than him.. at least he is current T&R driver at Williams, so maybe in with a chance (he’s old enough for the Martini rule too). I doubt if Wehrlein will break from Merc.. he’s done nothing wrong as such, & at least he’s still in F1 ! (not easy these days! ask Nasr!)

  6. What a disappointment, and a waste of what is one of the best rookie talents in recent years.

    He must know the Mercedes family very well by now, with his DTM championship with them; he’s done miles and miles of testing with the Mercedes F1 team (especially 2017 tyre tests which should be invaluable – more than any other driver); he’s done testing with Force India (with the Merc engine at the back); and he’s had an amazing rookie season in what was easily the slowest car.

    Not just the point he scored in Austria, some of his first lap heroics were amazing to watch – I forgot which race, but he was up to 13th at the end of lap 1 at a race early in the season, showing good racecraft and a sensible head on young shoulders.

    And to top it all off, he saw off the challenge from a highly rated Ocon in the second half of the season, although this was expected as he was in the car all year.

    I don’t understand what more he had to do to get the Merc drive – with Ocon’s promotion and Bottas’s appointment, it just screams that the Mercedes management don’t have confidence in him, but I don’t understand why?

    There was some rumours about his temperament, but does anyone know if there was any substance to this, or what the full story was in the first place?

    1. It may not be that they don’t have confidence in him, but rather that he needs more time in F1, and/or I think moreso he’s not what they want at this particular time.

      Merc have shown themselves to be racers unafraid of managing a tough rivalry by having the best two drivers on their team that they can get. If it is true they started by trying for FA, then one can understand why they have gone to the lengths of disrupting Williams by poaching Bottas who is their best option available right now. Some debate how strong a rival he’ll be to LH, but I think many would agree PW would be like handing LH a guaranteed non-factor compared to what VB can potentially bring. It’s about evolving the team and the car and VB has more experience at that.

    2. It seems like Mercedes takes the Ferrari approach, and doesn’t employ young drivers. Which is their prerogative of course.


    Surely Merc will confirm this soon?!? Come ooooon, I bought champagne and all, I don’t want to wait any longer!

  8. Instead of sulking, it would be better if Wehrlein aims at destroying Ericcson in 2017…. after all, there is a good chance of top seat opening up in 2018 in either Ferrari or Mercedes. If Marcus gives Pascal a tough time in 2017, I doubt anyone in the paddock will consider Pascal for a top drive in his career.

    1. @todfod

      I think it will be a tough battle for them both. But I do actually think Ericsson is better. Although Wherlien got a point last year, I’d say Ericsson has had more impressive races this season. And Wherlien was sort of lucky to get that point in Austria. Several drivers ahead of him retired that would have comfortably been ahead of him in the race. He did have a very good qualifying but he made a rookie error at the start of the race. He parked 2 places further up the grid than he should have done, then reversed on the grid seconds before the lights went out. Although he got away with it, it could have been avoided. Ericsson has made mistakes too this season but I think he was more deserving of a points finish than Wherlein. His drive in Mexico was one of the most impressive drives by any driver this season but many just didn’t see it that way. He finished 11th and only a manor retired. He also got knocked down to last on the first lap when he got knocked off the track. Yet he managed to pit and do almost 70 laps on one set of tyres to the end.

      It may well be tight between the 2 this year but I personally think Ericssion will be better.

      1. @thegianthogweed
        Wehrlein reminds me a little of Paul Di Resta. Both came in to F1 from DTM, and both had the confidence to beat anyone in F1. Di Resta was backed by Mercedes as the proclaimed ‘Vettel beater’ and Wehrlein was the ‘Mercedes golden boy’.

        Di Resta sulked constantly when Mclaren and Mercedes didn’t end up signing him, and he ended up in Force India where Adrian Sutil took him to school and effectively ended his F1 career. For Wehrlein’s sake I hope he doesn’t get beaten by Marcus Ericcson, because he could very easily go down the Paul Di Resta route after 2017.

        1. I actually think that it´s a very likely scenario.
          Ericsson seems confident at the moment and has a proven skill to work good with the engineers and get the most out of the car.
          Wehrlein is gonna have a hard time beating Marcus.

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