According to reports, Pascal Wehrlein has agreed to a deal that would see him drive for Sauber in 2017. The move further solidifies Valtteri Bottas’s move from Williams to Mercedes as a replacement for Nico Rosberg although the team have not officially announced it yet.
The Bottas move left Mercedes junior driver, Wehrlein, out of the running for Rosberg’s seat after spending a season at Mercedes-powered Manor Racing. That relationship made sense as Manor enjoyed a supplier relationship with Mercedes but became embroiled in talks of a potential sale/takeover to investors.
The move of a Mercedes driver to Sauber, a Ferrari-powered team, makes less sense and adds more concern about Manor’s long-term viability in F1. Wehrlein will join Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson at Sauber with Felipe Nasr, Esteban Gutierrez and Rio Haryanto as possible Manor drivers.
The reports do not mention Sauber’s engine supply deal with Ferrari or if it is changing to Mercedes as part of the deal, which seems unlikely given the team’s long history with Ferrari.
Hat Tip: Motorsport