Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team backed Pascal Wehrlein looks set to join Marcus Ericsson at the Sauber F1 Team for the 2017 season according to reports in the UK.
The German who completed his first season in Formula One with Manor Racing in 2016 had been linked with a step up to the Mercedes team to replace world champion Nico Rosberg who announced his retirement from the sport at the end of last season however, Paddock Eye understands that Mercedes elected not to go down this route as they felt Wehrlein had not gained enough experience with just one season of racing in Formula One under his belt.
If as expected he is confirmed as Sauber’s second driver it would mean that there are only three seats remaining in Formula One for this season with two available at Manor Racing and the seat alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
The news of Wehrlein’s pending move to Sauber means that Mercedes will now be in a position to announce their second driver with Valtteri Bottas certain to be confirmed as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate. Bottas reportedly visited the Mercedes factory in Brackley in the build up to Christmas for a seat fitting.
Wehrlein scored Manor Racing’s only point of 2016 meaning the team finished the year in 11th place in the Constructors championship.
It has been reported that Mercedes will announce who will partner Lewis Hamilton on Tuesday January 3 despite the fact that non executive chairman Niki Lauda has said that an announcement would not be made until the end of January at the earliest. Watch this space!