Wolff convinced Wehrlein has 'the potential to win'

Pascal Wehrlein

Mercedes boss Toro Wolff deplores the fact that Pascal Wehrlein will likely be absent from Formula 1's grid in 2018.

The young German driver, who launched his F1 career with Manor in 2016, recently lost his seat at Sauber after the Swiss outfit retained Marcus Ericsson and took on Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc for 2018.

Wehrlein's only remote chance appeared to be Williams, but the Grove-based outfit has now put Sergey Sirotkin at the top of its list of contenders for next season.

"Pascal deserves to be in Formula 1, he's an excellent driver," Toto Wolff told Italy's Corriere dello Sport.

"He's not in an easy position because there are no seats open to him.

"It's a shame, because he has the potential to win and his performances on the track has been exceptional."

With a full season of racing still ahead, pundits are already speculating on the identity of the driver who could replace Valtteri Bottas at the Silver Arrows team.

Should the Finn disappoint next season, Wehrlein's chances of racing with Mercedes in 2019 would be very slim after a year spent on the sidelines.
"Our goal is to find the new Lewis Hamilton, which is not easy because he is at a very high level," said Wolff.

"Our strategy is to hire quick drivers who already have experience. Mercedes is not a place to learn,"

"Those who arrive here must already be a complete driver."

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