Mercedes Names 19-Year-Old Pascal Wehrlein F1 Reserve Driver

Sep 15, 2014 05:00 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro


German driver Pascal Wehrlein has been named a reserve driver for the dominant Mercedes Formula One team after becoming the youngest driver ever to win the German Touring Car championship.

Mercedes announced the appointment just a day after the 19-year-old won from pole position for Mercedes in a DTM race at the Lausitzring and only four days after his first test in a grand prix car, according to Reuters.

With Germany's Marco Wittmann winning for BMW with two races to spare, the DTM championship has now been decided.

Wehrlein's new role means he will attend this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix and future races as a possible replacement if championship leader Nico Rosberg or Britain's 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton aren't able to race.

"He has worked hard behind the scenes this year in our simulator, playing a very important role in our pre-race preparations," said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff, according to Reuters. "Aside from Nico and Lewis, he is the driver most familiar with all the procedures of our F1 W05 Hybrid and therefore the right choice for the role of reserve driver."

The teen has already worked with the team this season, completing more than 30 days in the Forumla One simulator and driving more than 12,000 km at the wheel of the virtual F1 W05 Hybrid car.

Wehrlein drove a Formula One car for the first time at Portugal's Algarve circuit last Thursday when he tested the 2012 Mercedes.

"Pascal has a bright future ahead of him and we are excited to have him onboard for what will be an intense conclusion to the Formula One season," said Wolff.

Hamilton and Rosberg are competing for their own championship, with the German 22 points clear of the Briton with just six races left.

"The test was simply the greatest experience I have had so far in motorsport," Wehrlein said in a team release, according to NBC Sports. "There weren't any nerves, which surprised me - I just felt ready for it. The feedback from the team and from Toto was very encouraging and I think that I did a good job."

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