Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein has revealed he is in talks with Force India over its vacant seat for the 2017 Formula One season.
The Silverstone-based outfit has an opening alongside Sergio Perez after it was announced on Friday that Nico Hulkenberg signed a multi-year deal with Renault.
Wehrlein is familiar with Mercedes-powered Force India, having spent three days of testing with the team last year.
Talking to the German media at the 2016 DTM season finale in Hockenheim last weekend, the 21-year-old has confirmed he is in the frame to replace Hulkenberg.
“Indeed, there's a seat at Force India, and of course we're in talks with them," Wehrlein is quoted as saying by GPUpdate.net. “We'll see how it will unfold. At the moment, I'm focused on doing the best possible job for Manor. We want to end the season on a high.”
The 2015 DTM champion further commented that he was not surprised to see an opportunity arise at Force India in light of the rumours that had been swirling around the team in recent months.
“For me, it wasn't a surprise that there would be an open seat at Force India. First there were rumours about Sergio, just after he had signed it focused on Nico. There's no smoke without a fire.”
With Wehrlein’s Manor team-mate Esteban Ocon also highly rated by the Vijay Mallya-Led outfit, the race for the second Force India seat could well boil down to a straight fight between the two Mercedes protégés.
Wehrlein is delivering a strong rookie F1 campaign so far, as highlighted by his point-scoring finish at the Austrian Grand Prix, which maintains Manor in 10th place and ahead of Sauber in the Constructor’s standings with four races to go this year.