Too early to promote Wehrlein to Mercedes seat – Tost

Franz Tost feels it would be too early for Mercedes to promote Pascal Wehrlein to their vacant seat in 2017 - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Franz Tost believes it would be too early for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team to promote Pascal Wehrlein to the race seat, believing that drivers need at least three years of experience in the sport before taking a potentially race winning drive.

The Team Principal of the Scuderia Toro Rosso team believes that Wehrlein would be able to take race wins, but feels the pressure might be too much for someone with relatively limited experience in a Formula 1 machine to put together a challenge for the title, something that Mercedes have had two drivers able to do in recent years with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Wehrlein made his debut with the Manor Racing MRT squad in 2016, scoring a solitary point in the Austrian Grand Prix, but while Tost rates the German highly, he does not believe he would be ready for the Mercedes seat in 2017.

“They have a very good driver waiting in the wings,” said Tost to Austrian publication Tiroler Tageszeitung. “But the expectations of a world championship-calibre team are naturally quite different. Sooner or later, Wehrlein will be able to win but it is still too early.

“I have always said that a driver needs three years to understand everything in Formula 1. Of course having a Hamilton/Wehrlein pairing would be the easiest solution but we’re talking about the defending world champions here.

“There is a lot of money at stake. At any rate, having an open seat that late is not great for the team’s stability.”