Former Sauber and Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein has returned to DTM with Mercedes after failing to secure a Formula 1 seat for 2018.
As a Mercedes young driver, Wehrlein won the DTM championship in 2015 (pictured above) before moving into F1 with Manor. Despite an impressive debut season, Wehrlein was overlooked for a seat at Force India in favor of fellow Mercedes youngster Esteban Ocon, but that saw him linked with the vacancy at the works team when Nico Rosberg made the shock decision to retire at the end of 2016.
Wehrlein ended up at Sauber as Valtteri Bottas was drafted in alongside Lewis Hamilton, and although the young German scored all five of the team’s points last season, he lost his seat to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc this winter.
With Sergey Sirotkin having taken the final 2018 race seat available when he was signed by Williams last month, Wehrlein has now been confirmed as one of the Mercedes drivers for the team’s last season of DTM.
“I’ve got some terrific memories of the DTM, not least because of my title win in 2015, but also because of the strong team spirit and the many amazing experiences I’ve had with the guys,” Wehrlein said. “I’ve followed the DTM closely during my time in Formula 1 and have even been to a couple of races to see the team and support them.
“A lot has changed in the DTM since my last race in the DTM season finale at Hockenheim back in 2015, but I like a challenge and can hardly wait to try out our new car on track for the first time. The first tests can’t come soon enough for me.”
Ulrich Fritz – the head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM – admits Wehrlein will have to adapt once again having been away from the category for over two years.
“Pascal quickly established himself in the DTM and became the youngest-ever champion in the history of the series in 2015,” Fritz said. “Of course, everyone in the team is really pleased that he’s returning to the DTM for our final year. He made many close friends within the squad and stayed in touch even when he was driving in Formula 1. A lot has changed in the DTM in recent years, for sure, with new cars, new tires and new rules, but we’re confident that he’ll soon settle back in with his experience and commitment.”