Background: Manor rookie Pascal Wehrlein

By on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Sahara Force India

Sahara Force India

Pascal Wehrlein will graduate to Formula 1 this year with Manor Racing as the second youngest driver on the grid and with a lengthy association with World Champions Mercedes.

Wehrlein spent the late 2000s racing in karting in his native Germany and progressed to single-seaters in 2010, competing in ADAC Formel Masters.

Wehrlein placed sixth in his maiden campaign before emerging as the front-runner in 2011, claiming the crown with eight victories from 24 races.

That earned him a step up to Formula 3 in 2012; in the Euroseries he finished runner-up to Daniel Juncadella while in the European F3 Championship he classified fourth, a handful of points ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr.

In 2013 he became the youngest driver in the history of DTM though remained a backmarker for the majority of the campaign and placed 22nd, scoring points in three events.

He delivered a step forwards in 2014 and became the youngest race winner at the Lausitzring as he classified eighth, and in September was appointed as Mercedes’ reserve driver in Formula 1.

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Wehrlein made his Formula 1 test debut in Abu Dhabi and also completed running pre-season in Spain last year, due to illness for Lewis Hamilton, and conducted further running in Force India’s 2014 car.

Wehrlein emerged as a favourite in the revised DTM format of two races per weekend and was the most consistent runner as he received the backing of Mercedes.

His challenge was almost derailed during a controversial race in Austria when he was punted off track by Audi rival Timo Scheider, in a move which resulted in the former champion being excluded from one round and his manufacturer heavily fined.

Wehrlein ultimately prevailed to be crowned the youngest champion in DTM’s history and, having run for Mercedes and Force India mid-season in Austria, added to his mileage with an outing in the post-race tyre test in Abu Dhabi.

Manor’s decision to use current-year Mercedes power units in 2016 raised suggestions that Wehrlein could be in line for a promotion to a race seat and after a winter of discussions that possibility has been turned into reality.

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Wehrlein will be the fourth German driver on the grid this year, alongside Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg.

Wehrlein is set to use 94 as his personal racing number, which he carried on his Mercedes en-route to DTM glory in 2015.

Wehrlein's appointment continues the trend of Manor, which made its debut in the sport in 2010, handing young drivers their chance in Formula 1.

Lucas di Grassi, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, Roberto Merhi and Alexander Rossi all competed at Manor/Marussia as Grand Prix rookies.

As it stands Wehrlein will be one of two rookies in the sport, along with Renault's Jolyon Palmer.

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