Wehrlein’s farewell in installments?

Wehrlein's farewell in installments?

A season that has already begun in a completely messed-up way threatens to be the premature end of pascal wehrlein’s formula 1 career. After just two years in the king’s class of motorsport, the former 2015 DTM champion is running out of options.

"I don’t think i can have a place at clean next year," wehrlein said youngest in spa-francorchamps. Wehrlein then drove for the swiss private team for only one year. The close cooperation with ferrari was allowed to become a sporting hang-up for him; the scuderia, as the old and new engine partner, will want to swap the mercedes kid for a driver from the ferrari junior squad next season. Ferrari is also involved in the discussion about the driver issue, clean team boss frederic vasseur has already admitted.

One of the candidates, charles leclerc, a 19-year-old monegasque, is doing some great self-promotion as the leader of formula 2. Second candidate is antonio giovinazzi, 23-year-old italian. He already drove in place of wehrlein when the latter was not allowed to drive the first two grand prix this season in australia and china due to broken vertebrae after his accident in the "race of champions" at the end of january. Besides giovinazzi is also replacement driver for the scuderia for sebastian vettel and kimi raikkonen.

It cannot be ruled out that ferrari will use the home race in monza this weekend to present one of its up-and-coming drivers as a future clean driver. "It just makes sense for ferrari to get its up-and-coming drivers in there. If I look around me like this, it will probably happen," said wehrlein.

For him it could end very bitterly. Wehrlein must use all opportunities to show strong performances in the clean, says mercedes motorsport boss toto wolff. "He must continue to give his all, and then we must see what alternatives there are."

For mercedes itself, it was not enough even before the season began. After the surprise retirement of nico rosberg, the german racing team preferred the finnish driver valtteri bottas over the youngster from their own school. Wehrlein’s commitment to mercedes’ engine partner force india also did not materialize after wehrlein’s formula 1 entry team manor went bust.

The man from sigmaringen was promoted to formula 1 driver immediately after his success as the youngest champion in the DTM. In 2016 he scored one point in austria with tenth place in the completely inferior manor car. In the clean car, wehrlein finished eighth in spain this year; in azerbaijan, the team-mate of swedish driver marcus ericsson was tenth.

If wehrlein does not get a cockpit for next year, the german fraction will shrink to just two drivers. Besides vettel, nico hulkenberg’s retention at renault is certain.