German driver Pascal Wehrlein finds himself without a drive in Formula 1 for next season. Sauber opted to retain Marcus Ericsson and partner him with the Ferrari-backed and current F2 champion Charles Leclerc. The German knew his fate was sealed at the Swiss team for quite some time. This was despite the fact that he scored all five of Sauber’s World Championship points. Sadly, a lack of funding and the fact he is on Mercedes’ books means he has been put on the sidelines. Former Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said that it was strange that potential champion Wehrlein was without a drive for 2018. Monisha Kaltenborn was let go by the Sauber team after a disagreement with the team owners.
Kaltenborn said, “I think his performance in 2017 is still not properly appreciated. Without him, the team would have scored no points at all. I just hope that he will continue to get what he deserves in Formula One, which above all else is a cockpit. Pascal has the potential to become world champion with the right team. Anyone who has worked with him knows that.”
Wehrlein is considered an outsider for the last remaining seat on the grid at Williams. The only other option for him is a seat back in DTM with Mercedes for one final year. Mercedes has been hard at work trying to persuade Williams to take Wehrlein. The move makes sense as there is a possibility of including a commercial element in any deal, such as a discount on the team’s power unit costs.
However, Toto Wolff admits that Wehrlein’s chances are all but faded away. He says that Kubica deserves the opportunity to make a comeback. Wolff said, “I think it has been clearly said that Williams’s priority is Robert. Robert from my point of view deserves the chance in the Williams, and it’s out of Pascal’s hands. There is still a tiny possibility if Robert doesn’t do well, but none of us wishes him to not do well. All of us are actually cheering for him. I’m in two minds, because I think for F1, for Robert and for Williams it will be great if he performs, and on the other side it looks like it’s Pascal’s last chance, and he’s our junior. Let’s see how things develop.”