Mercedes name 19-year-old DTM racer Pascal Wehrlein as their reserve driver
German drove F1 car for the first last week completing 500km; Victory at Lausitzring on Sunday made him youngest winner in DTM history
By William Esler
Last Updated: 19/02/16 10:58am
Mercedes have named 19-year-old DTM race winner Pascal Wehrlein as their reserve driver.
The German only drove a Formula 1 car for the first time on September 11 when he completed 500km in the team’s 2012 challenger at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve in Portimao, but is said to have impressed the team with his feedback.
In addition he has also completed 30 days of simulator running in the virtual F1 W05 Hybrid covering over 12,000km.
Wehrlein became the youngest winner in DTM history with his maiden victory on Sunday at the Lausitzring for Mercedes and prior to his DTM graduation Wehrlein had raced in the F3 Euroseries where he finished as runner-up in 2012 to Force India test driver Daniel Juncadella.
“I was delighted when I learned that I would be completing a Formula 1 test for Mercedes AMG Petronas in Portimao,” Wehrlein said.
“It took me a few laps to get used to the incredible speed, the very hard brakes and the high cornering speeds - it's in another league compared to the DTM. But I adapted quickly and was able to improve in each of my short and long runs. In total, I drove 500 km and didn't want to head back into the pits! The test was simply the greatest experience I have had so far in motorsport. 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. It certainly helped that I have been working hard in the simulator since February. For me, it is a nice recognition of my efforts that I have been nominated as reserve driver for Mercedes AMG Petronas.
“For me, it's a dream come true to have completed this test and now to take on my new role. All my life, I have worked hard to get the opportunity to drive an F1 car. And it was always my goal to do it with Mercedes-Benz."
Wehrelin will now travel with the team to the remaining races in 2014, starting with this weekend’s Singapore GP, and Merecedes’ Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff says he has a bright future ahead.
"We are delighted to officially welcome Pascal to the team after his successful test last week in Portugal,” the Austrian added.
“He has worked hard behind the scenes this year in our simulator, playing a very important role in our 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.
“He took an important step last week when he drove a Formula 1 car for the first time - and we were pleased to see him deliver a composed and impressive test, in line with our expectations. This was followed by a fantastic win yesterday at the Lausitzring in the DTM, making the most of conditions where pure driving talent was able to shine.
“Pascal has a bright future ahead of him and we are excited to have him onboard for what will be an intense conclusion to the Formula 1 season."