Wehrlein hopes for non-DTM alternative
20 August 2017 – Pascal Wehrlein says the "second way" of reaching Formula 1 will no longer be possible for any Mercedes-backed youngsters, following its decision to leave DTM after the 2018 campaign.
Mercedes announced last month that it will cease its DTM programme at the end of next year, and will instead compete in Formula E from the 2019/20 season.
Wehrlein competed in Formula 3 before entering DTM with Mercedes, earning graduation to Formula 1 at Manor for 2016, having claimed the title in the tin-top series.
Wehrlein followed in the footsteps of Christijan Albers and Paul di Resta in moving from DTM to Formula 1, while Force India's Esteban Ocon was also placed in DTM by Mercedes.
Sauber racer Wehrlein highlighted that Mercedes will now have to take a different approach with its young drivers if they are to graduate to Formula 1.
"Definitely with Mercedes you had the chance to still go in F1, DTM is not the normal way," commented Wehrlein, on his path to Formula 1.
"You start in Formula 4, Formula 3, Formula 2 [or] GP3, that's the normal way.
"I can just tell you about my case, it was not possible for me to drive GP2, I did not have the budget of one and a half million, so I had to decide what I could do after Formula 3.
"For me it was clear that there was an offer from Mercedes that I could drive DTM, I was getting paid and I didn't have to spend a crazy amount of money for another year of Formula 3.
"The only option was DTM and I was really happy about that chance and I always knew if I did a good job, winning and so on, there could still be a chance to arrive in F1.
"Luckily I won DTM and now I'm in F1, but I think this is only possible with Mercedes.
"So now maybe without DTM they will put their drivers in Formula 3, GP3 and F2, and maybe they now do not try any more to go the second way."
Mercedes currently has Wehrlein and Ocon competing in Formula 1, with its other young driver, George Russell, leading the GP3 standings in his rookie campaign.