Mercedes names Pascal Wehrlein F1 reserve driver

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Red Bull snatched up Max Verstappen and now Mercedes has countered with Pascal Wehrlein in terms of the “signing new teenaged drivers” sweepstakes.

At the moment, though, Wehrlein’s Formula One appointment is only as Mercedes AMG Petronas reserve driver, and not to a race seat ahead of the 2015 grid.

Wehrlein, a 19-year-old German rising star, has quickly ascended from Formula 3 into DTM. Yesterday, he took his first DTM win at the Lausitzring in wet-dry conditions and became the youngest winner in that series’ history.

His F1 on-track experience is brief. Although he’s had a fair amount of simulator time, Wehrlein had his first F1 test just last week.

He tested Mercedes’ 2012 car, the W03, at Portimao on Thursday and banked 109 laps as part of a team Young Driver Evaluation. Nonetheless, he’s been signed up quickly and will begin his official duties as reserve driver ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, traveling with the team to the event.

“The test was simply the greatest experience I have had so far in motorsport,” Wehrlein said in a team release. “There weren’t any nerves, which surprised me – I just felt ready for it. The feedback from the team and from Toto was very encouraging and I think that I did a good job.”

Added Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Toto Wolff, “We are delighted to officially welcome Pascal to the team after his successful test last week in Portugal. He has worked hard behind the scenes in our simulator, playing a very important role in pre-race preparations. Aside from Nico and Lewis, he is the driver most familiar with all the procedures of our F1 W05 Hybrid and therefore the right choice for the role of reserve driver.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.