“Our junior programme has always been about supporting young talent and finding opportunities that are in the best interests of the drivers’ careers,” said team principal Toto Wolff. “It is not always a straight path to the top – and sometimes we have to recognise that it is the right time to end a relationship, too.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t offer Pascal a competitive drive for next year. In his best interests, we have therefore decided together with Pascal not to extend our agreement and to give him the best chance of securing an opportunity elsewhere that his talent merits. We want to thank him for his fantastic performances for Mercedes-Benz in recent years and wish him all the best for the future.”
Wehrlein, who has been backed by the team for the last five years, thanked Mercedes for their support.
“My contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season and we have jointly decided not to continue further together,” he said. “I am looking for new challenges and opportunities, and am currently talking to other teams about a cockpit for next season.”
Mercedes also has Esteban Ocon and George Russell on its young driver scheme.
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2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year