As it was announced that Manor had signed it’s first driver for the 2016 season, Pascal Wehrlein, it left many followers of F1 wondering if Mercedes are lining him up to take over a seat from Mercedes GP drivers Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg; and a betting man’s money would be on Rosberg who has persistantly failed to win the Drivers Championship.
Pascal Wehrlein, who is of German-Mauritian nationality, is a talented young driver who has a decent record of race wins in ADAC Formel Master, Formula 3 and DTM. Most importantly for his future career prospects is that he has links to Mercedes, a company for which he drove in DTM for the HWA team that develops and builds vehicles and components for Mercedes-AMG. The move to F1 is said to have been “engineered” by Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, and Manor will be using a Mercedes power unit in 2016. However you look at it, there’s a strong Mercedes-Benz link in Wherlein’s career.
Why would Mercedes ditch Nico Rosberg?
Despite being an excellent contender in the Mercedes GP team, Rosberg has failed to win a World Drivers Championship in his 10 year career and has been beaten by teammate Lewis Hamilton to years in a row. For sure, Rosberg showed formidable driving towards the end of the 2015 season but this was after Hamilton had already clinched the title; many commentators suspect that Hamilton was just easing himself into the winter break. Rosberg also seems to find it increasingly difficult to keep his cool when things aren’t going his way and at time his relationship with his team have appeared fractured.
If Rosberg fails again to win the WDC and is unable to keep a solid relationship with his team, and if Pascal Wehrlein repeatedly impresses, expect changes at Mercedes GP by 2018.
The signing is good for Wehrlein and Manor
Some might say that Manor were lucky to sign a talented driver like Pascal Wehrlien. Others might say he is lucky to drive in the greatest motorsport in the world. Whatever your view, there’s no doubt the signing is mutually beneficial for both parties.
From Wehrlein’s position, driving for a slower team such a Manor is a good way to introduce him to the sport. He’ll feel less pressure than if her were perhaps to driver from a team such as Toro Rosso. In addition it will allow him to cement his links further with Mercedes-Benz.
Fans of Manor probably won’t appreciate me referring to them as a “slower team”, but 2 points in 4 years speaks for itself and even with last years Mercedes power unit, it’s unlikely that the team will find the seconds per lap that they need to become truly competitive. Nevertheless, the signing brings a young and enthusiastic driver whom the team can mold.
Look out Nico Rosberg. There’s a new kid on the block. And he wants your job.