Haug labels Wehrlein a sound investment for Manor

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Former Mercedes F1 sporting director Norbert Haug says Manor Racing has made a good investment in signing 2015 DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein.

The 21-year-old was confirmed as the small British outfit’s first driver earlier this week, thus putting an end to weeks of speculation.

Although it is rumoured that Mercedes, which starts powering Manor in 2016, is contributing towards Wehrlein’s rookie season, Haug believes he is the best option for the perennial backmarkers to jump into the F1 midfield.

“Pascal Wehrlein is a much better investment for Manor than any pay drivers, even if they can bring many more millions in sponsorship money to the team,” he told German-language publication Motorsport-magazin.com.

“If Wehrlein scores one or more championship points, which for the pay driver – even if he is only fractionally slower – might be unattainable, these can be worth millions.

“Mercedes has been very clever in preparing Pascal. He has accumulated experience and track time without much pressure and could showcase his skills when needed.”

With full-time driver Nico Rosberg entering a contract year in 2016 and given his frosty relationship with world champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton, could Wehrlein’s promotion to Mercedes’ factory team be fast-tracked?

“If they did not believe in Pascal’s abilities to develop into a potential candidate for the works outfit, they would not have appointed him as third driver, nor helped him graduate to F1 with Manor,” Haug added.

“However, to assume that one of the two race drivers will be replaced by Wehrlein would be wrong.”

Manor has yet to announce who Wehrlein’s 2016 team-mate will be, with options ranging from last year’s pilots Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi to Indonesian hopeful Rio Haryanto.

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