Amid reports that Felipe Nasr has lost backing from Banco do Brasil, and thus little chance of being retained by Sauber for 2017, Pascal Wehrlein has emerged as a candidate for the drive with the Swiss team.
Wehrlien is managed by Mercedes, thus a deal with Sauber appeared unlikely as the team is a Ferrari powered team.
The highly rated German rookie was asked by reporters if talks with Sauber and his minders were happening, he replied, “Yes”
And added, “I was surprised, but in the end not too much because Manor and Sauber are the only two teams with a seat left for next year. Of course it could be a possibility for next year but nothing is done for next year, nothing is signed. There are just these two options.”
“I have to wait and see what will be decided. Mercedes is talking for me, talking about next year and for my future. So I am waiting, I’m driving, I’m doing my best here and focusing on that. Everything else I will try not to focus on and try to do 100% here.”
There are mounting fears that Manor are financially unstable as they have dropped to the foot of the constructors’ championship standings which will hit them hard financially.
Asked which team will be the better option for him, Wehrlein said, “I think both could be a very good option. It’s difficult to say, next year has new regulations and everything is new so in terms of performance I don’t know where would be the better place.”
“Both options could be interesting and nice but in the end there’s normally always one better option. Normally you don’t have two similar or equal options, so I think if there are two, Mercedes will decide which is the better one,” added the German.
Meanwhile Nasr’s future looks bleak as his long time backers, Banco do Brasil, are making big cut backs and closing branches and retrenching staff. Formula 1 sponsorship is a luxury which the company can no longer justify.
Only three Formula 1 seats remain to be confirmed for 2017, one at Sauber and two with Manor.