Manor F1 team signs Mercedes reserve Wehrlein

Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:11am EST
 
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Pascal Wehrlein, reserve driver for world champions Mercedes and last year's German Touring Car (DTM) series winner, will race for Manor this season, Formula One's smallest team said on Wednesday.

"We’re a small team up for a big challenge... so we’ve chosen a driver with the talent and hunger to match our own on-track ambitions," said owner Stephen Fitzpatrick in a statement.

"Pascal has impressed in testing for Mercedes and Force India, together with commanding performances in DTM... Manor Racing is perfectly placed to help Pascal make a big impact in his first season."

The 21-year-old German, whose mother is from Mauritius, became the youngest DTM champion in 2015 when he won the title with Mercedes.

That domestic series pits Mercedes against rivals Audi and BMW in cars that superficially resemble production models but whose performance is closer to single-seater racers.

While Mercedes dominated Formula One last season with triple champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg winning all but three races, Manor - as Marussia - failed to score a point and finished last in 10th place.

Team principal and founder John Booth and sporting director Graeme Lowdon departed at the end of the year and the team's name has changed for 2016.

They have made some high-profile appointments and the switch from a year-old Ferrari engine to Mercedes power units should see them become more competitive even if they still have the smallest budget.   Continued...