Pascal Wehrlein has joined Ferrari and will work in a development role throughout the 2019 season. The Scuderia outfit was searching for a driver to fill the spots left by Daniil Kvyat and Antonio Giovinazzi, who will take up full-time drives for the upcoming season.
Wehrlein competed in Formula 1 in 2016 and 2017 for Manor and Sauber, and parted ways with backers Mercedes at the end of last year. This weekend, he will make his Formula E debut with Mahindra after being forced to sit out the opening round last month.
Ferrari is believed to be considering a second development driver that will work alongside Wehlein. Last year, Ferrari relied heavily on the simulation roles carried out by Kvyat and Giovinazzi which helped throughout Grand Prix weekends and across the season.
Reports from Italy suggested that Brendon Hartley was in contention for the role, however those rumours were shut down by the Kiwi's father. Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel highlighted the importance of the simulator role.
"Based on our findings, we changed the car, both [Vetel and Kimi Raikkonen] of us did, and it was better and we were happier. It's not the first time that this has happened so we're extremely thankful for the guys, taking the time. It's not the nicest job on Friday night, especially when you're young, but it's important, it all adds up."
And the German was confident that a suitable candidate would be found for 2019: "I think we will find people that fit in very well and very quickly, so I'm confident we will have a strong team on that front as well."