Pascal Wehrlein has preached that the Mercedes Formula 1 team are in need of a new route for young drivers after the German manufacturer officially announced it was leaving DTM. Last month, Mercedes declared that it would be pulling out of the touring car series to instead focus its resources on Formula E.
Mercedes will enter Formula E for 2019/20 season, meaning that it will have to change the way it brings through young drivers. The manufacturer has used DTM as a key series before entering F1. Paul di Resta, Esteban Ocon and Wehrlein himself all competed in the series before making the step to Formula 1.
Wehrlein won the championship in 2015 which earned him a seat at Manor for the 2016 F1 season. Similarly, di Resta emerged victorious in 2010 and stepped into the Force India seat the next year. Wehrlein says that DTM is not the normal route a young driver should take and urges Mercedes to change its method.
"DTM is not the normal way. You start in Formula 4, Formula 3, Formula 2, GP3, that’s the normal way. I can just tell you about my case, it was not possible for me to drive in GP2; I did not have the budget of one and a half millions so I had to decide what can I do after Formula 3.
"For me it was clear that there was an offer from Mercedes that I could drive DTM, I’m getting paid and don’t have to spend crazy amount of money for another year of Formula 3 or something like this," he continued. "As I said, GP2 was not possible, so for me the only option was DTM and I was really happy about that chance.
"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 don’t try anymore to go the second way," Wehrlein concluded.