Formula 1

Manor confirms Pascal Wehrlein as first driver for 2016

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Manor Racing have confirmed that DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein will join the Formula 1 grid in 2016, meaning Germany will have a leading number of four representatives.

Wehrlein, 21, has long been affiliated with new Manor engine supplier Mercedes, taking part in several F1 test sessions with the current World-Champions and Force India during 2015.

After the announcement was made, Wehrlein said: "Manor Racing is a great place for me to start my Formula 1 racing career.


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"It's a small and totally focused team and I soon hope to know everyone,” he added.

"Though it's my first season my aim is to help (owner) Stephen (Fitzpatrick) and the guys achieve their goals. It will be a tough challenge but I think we should be able to challenge for points along the way.”

The German driver did not forget his roots: "A word for my racing family at Mercedes-Benz, and particularly for Toto, who have guided my career this far and made this opportunity possible. Thanks for the incredible support to help me achieve my dream.

"Now it's down to me to grab the moment and perform on track".

It is believed that the appointment was part of the contract made with the German manufacturer for the supply of power units for 2016. In addition to taking Mercedes power units, Manor has embarked on a technical partnership with Williams and has undergone a major technical restructuring over the winter.

Former McLaren chief Dave Ryan (Racing Director) and ex-Ferrari employees Nikolas Tombazis (aero chief) and Pat Fry (engineering consultant) have all arrived in senior roles.

Manor is yet to formally announce the identity of Wehrlein's team-mate. However, Alexander Rossi remains positive that he can conclude a deal to remain in Formula 1 with the Mercedes-powered Manor team in 2016.

Rossi made his F1 debut with the team in Singapore last year and competed in five of the final seven Grands Prix, alongside his commitments in GP2, in which he finished runner-up to Stoffel Vandoorne.

Manor is the only team yet to confirm its driver line-up for the upcoming campaign, with pre-season testing set to begin in Spain in two weeks' time.

"Talks are every day. I think the deadline is really when cars roll in Barcelona in a couple of weeks," Rossi said during an interview with Sky Sports.

"Things sometimes get pushed out in this sport and it is something I am used to and hopefully it doesn't go on to much longer."

Even considering the positive outlook of the American, he is in a three-way fight for the other seat with Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto and Will Stevens.

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