Wehrlein nears DTM title, but does F1 beckon?
Mercedes Formula 1 junior driver Pascal Wehrlein took a big step towards winning the 2015 DTM championship at the Nürburgring on Sunday by extending his series lead to 37 points ahead of next month’s finale at Hockenheim.
Wehrlein has tested for Mercedes and Force India in F1 over the past 12 months, and was known to have held talks with the latter about a possible drive in 2016.
At the age of 20, Wehrlein is now on the cusp of winning one of Europe’s premier touring car series after finishing third and fifth in this weekend’s races at the Nürburgring.
The German driver felt aggrieved after being forced off the track by Maxime Martin in Saturday’s race, but was more upbeat at the end of the weekend as his rivals lost more ground in the title race.
Wehrlein added an additional ten points to his championship lead over the weekend, which now stands at 37 points with just 50 remaining at next month’s two-race finale at Hockenheim.
With Mercedes close to striking an engine deal with Manor for 2016, it has been mooted that Wehrlein could get a drive with the team as part of the deal.
However, team boss Toto Wolff remained wary when discussing the German’s future, saying that he wanted to see how he fared in DTM before making any firm decisions.
“We have Pascal, who is with us, whose main focus is DTM, and I don’t want to take him away from that focus,” Wolff said in Suzuka this weekend.
“He has done a great job for us and he is a very exciting young driver, but I’d rather like to see how DTM pans out.”
The 2015 DTM season comes to a close at Hockenheim on October 18, which will be Wehrlein’s 21st birthday. However, unless nearest rival Edoardo Mortara outscores him by 12 points the day before, he will be crowned champion at the age of 20 with one race to spare.