Pascal Wehrlein secured a 14th place finish at the 2017 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix having started from 17th and was gutted to miss out on pipping Kevin Magnussen after a tight battle in the second phase of the race. Wehrlein expressed his feelings after the race and said,
“I had fun in the race today. My start was ok and I was able to maintain a steady performance and gradually advance to the midfield. I had a nice, lengthy battle with Kevin (Magnussen) ahead of me – unfortunately, I could not quite get him on the straights. It was good to have an action loaded season finale, though.”
Despite being the sole Sauber F1 Team points scorer this season after an incredible 8th place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix and 10th at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Wehrlein looks to be without a seat for 2018. Sauber’s line-up for the upcoming Abu Dhabi tests solidifying this, with Marcus Ericsson and the Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc getting the drives.
Whilst Leclerc’s presence is beyond justifiable, Wehrlein is unfortunate to be sidelined by Ericsson, the Swede’s deeper relationship with Sauber’s main shareholder Longbow Finance being the major factor that tilts the decision hugely in his favour.
In the races this season where both Sauber’s saw the checkered flag, Wehrlein beat his teammate on seven occasions. Ericsson only managed this on four occasions, which clarifies that this line-up decision, unfortunately, looks to be beyond performance.
Wehrlein is still quite young, and hasn’t yet been in a car that has allowed him to showcase his true potential, so if he doesn’t get a slither at Sauber, the German may have to settle for a reserve driver role elsewhere.