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Toto Wolff explains: This is how Pascal Wehrlein came to Manor Racing

Wolfgang Wilhelm
Toto Wolff explains
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F ast one fifth of the Formula 1 field speaks German. Pascal Wehrlein turns the Formula 1 trio into a quartet this year. The 21-year-old from Sigmaringen has been a regular driver at Manor-Mercedes since last week. In contrast to the other candidates Rio Haryanto, Alexander Rossi or Will Stevens, Wehrlein could not shine with a lavish dowry. He benefits from the fact that Manor wants to make the jump into midfield under his new team boss Dave Ryan.

Manor is no longer a backbencher

When the Mercedes plan to install its development driver at Manor matured, the question of money was of course in the foreground, as team boss Toto Wolff admits: 'You have to understand that the teams want to refinance themselves as well as possible That's why the engine delivery to Manor was independent of the driver's question. And that's why we didn't exert any pressure. '

However, Manor didn't want to focus on the issue of money when choosing a driver:' Then Dave Ryan When they came to Manor, it became more and more clear that they wanted to have a fixed size and benchmark on the driver's side. To know what the car can do, 'explains Wolff. 'So we sat down at the table before Christmas and started to discuss the general conditions. Now we have said: Let's try it.'

Over the winter, Manor has got itself ready for the 2016 season A current Mercedes V6 turbo replaces the Ferrari engine that was one year old. Williams provides the transmission and the rear axle. Top-class employees work in the technical office with former Ferrari employees Nikolas Tombazis and Pat Fry. That no longer sounds like a backbencher team.

This is also how Wolff sees it: 'They have ambitious plans to bring the team forward. The team is adequately financed. They have a good technical force on board . The Mercedes engine will bring them forward. And now they have a good pilot too. The experienced people in the team knew that the best development would be of no use if you didn't have someone in your car to depress the accelerator. '

Wolff trusts Wehrlein with World Championship points

Manor's ambitious plans are also increasing expectations. 'Manor struggled with the rehabilitation of the team last year, with a Ferrari engine that was a year old and a chassis that was barelywas developed. There are completely different conditions today. Manor now also uses our second wind tunnel in Brackley. In this respect, one can expect a big leap. I trust them to get World Cup points, 'says Wolff.

Supporter Wolff generally trusts his protégé to do everything. Manor should be another step on the career ladder of the super talent.' I met Pascal when he was 14 old was. There he was introduced to me by Peter Mücke. He was driving his final karting season, which was exceptional. In his second year he won the ADAC Masters series and was immediately competitive in Formula 3. When it came to the championship, Gerhard Ungar and I decided to bring him into the DTM. From then on he was also a top performer. '

Pascal Wehrlein celebrated the championship title in his third DTM season in 2015.

'Winning a DTM title is evidence not only of his incredible speed, but also of a skill that many great racing drivers have: He can do an M win championship. That means: taking points with you on bad weekends, avoiding collisions. These are important skills that you can also see in world champions. '

Formula 1 is not new territory for Wehrlein. At Mercedes and Force India, the reigning DTM champion covered 2,824 test kilometers last year. And not only that. Wolff: 'He was not only on the right level with the lap times, but also with his consistency. And he sat with us simulator for endless days and also took part in various training levels. '

' Much like we did with Bottas at Williams, we also set up a program at Pascal that should help him to become a complete racing driver. He worked in the laminating shop for the carbon production, in the parts production, with the engineers. Then you learn that it takes two weeks to manufacture a new front wing. This creates a humility for the work that is done in the background. '

Wehrlein in a double role on the way

Wehrlein has a lot to do in the 2016 season. In coordination with Manor, theAlso making his debut as a development driver at Mercedes. The dual role can mean that if the worst comes to the worst, he even sits in the Mercedes. Assuming Mercedes needs a replacement driver because Rosberg or Hamilton are sick, Mercedes has to make a decision.

Toto Wolff explains the procedure: 'If it happens well in advance, you will find a solution with Manor and Pascal It is important that Manor does not suffer any damage in this case. We do not want to leave Pascal there overnight. Should the situation arise at short notice, Esteban Ocon would be an alternative for us. He knows the Mercedes simulator, and was made for him A seat has already been made. In such a case we would certainly reach an agreement with Renault. There is a good understanding. '


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