Pascal Wehrlein: “It was great to be back in a Formula One car”

Pascal Wehrlein ended the first day of the final Formula 1 in-season test at the Red Bull Ring on Tuesday but was disappointed to have missed out on significant track time due to the inclement weather in Austria.

The twenty-year-old German, who became the youngest winner in DTM Series history in 2014 when he won at the Lausitzring, set a best time of 1m11.005s and ran 67 laps of the Spielberg circuit, but was unable to say whether the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 W06 Hybrid had improved since his last test with the team in Spain last month.

“It was a very mixed day,” reflected Wehrlein. “Unfortunately the weather meant that we couldn’t do our full schedule. In fact, we didn’t get any running at all this morning and only managed three runs on dry tyres in the afternoon. But there were definitely some positives at the end.

“I got to try the slicks, intermediates and wets, so it was good from my perspective to be able to compare the tyres and get some experience in all conditions – even if it wasn’t ideal for the test programme.

“I can’t really say if the car has improved since Barcelona as the conditions were very different and this is a very different track also.

“You could see even in the dry over the race weekend that a lot of drivers were struggling for grip and in the wet it’s extremely slippery – unusually so, I would say. The grip is very low and it’s very easy to lock up or run wide at some corners.”

Despite his disappointment of the limited running on Tuesday, Wehrlein has another opportunity to get some track time on Wednesday, when he takes on the testing duties for the Sahara Force India team, who will continue their testing of their new b-specification VJM08.

“It’s a shame that I didn’t get so much track time to build my experience,” said Wehrlein, “but it was great to be back in a Formula One car again and I’m looking forward to hopefully a smoother day tomorrow with Force India.”