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.”