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Wehrlein Had Been Considered for 2019-20 Mercedes Drive

Pascal Wehrlein could have made a sensational return to Mercedes for the 2019-20 season…

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Pascal Wehrlein was under consideration for a possible return to Mercedes as recently as late July, e-racing365 has learned.

It is believed that the current Mahindra driver was contacted about the possibility of a test with the new Mercedes EQ Formula E team.

Although officially denied by Mercedes, it is believed that the possibility of a test was at least discussed with Wehrlein who has been carefully weighing up his future options since the end of his maiden ABB FIA Formula E Championship season in July.

Wehrlein and Mercedes formally split last January after eight years of working together. It was deemed that the German manufacturer could not offer the driver a “competitive drive for next year,” according to Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

The former DTM champion subsequently signed a deal to race for Mahindra in Formula E and also completed a deal to be a simulator driver for the Ferrari F1 team.

Prior to the split Wehrlein tested the Venturi Gen 2 car at the Ales test track near Nimes in France during the summer of 2018 with a view to racing for the HWA Racelab squad.

However, Wehrlein and Mercedes management are believed to have had an irrevocable disagreement in the late summer period. This preceded his split and subsequent independent deal with Mahindra.

Several E-racing365 sources have confirmed that Mercedes EQ Formula E team approached Wehrlein and are believed to have considered testing him alongside Nyck de Vries who has since been confirmed as a race driver.

When asked about Mercedes EQ’s interest in Wehrlein, the teams’ manging director Ian James denied that a test had been offered this summer.

However, he did say that more or less the entire Formula E grid was considered.

“Pascal, as well as some of the other Formula E drivers and rookies last year did an admirable job and I think he’s got an exciting future ahead of him whatever that might be,” James told e-racing365.

“Just because of the prior connection with Mercedes-Benz there was no special focus on him as a driver but I had a look at all the field.”

The potential of Wehrlein racing for Mercedes again would have come as a major surprise after speculation mounted last year that the split between the driver and constructor was less than amicable.

Although not confirmed by either party, it is widely believed that Mercedes would not agree on Wehrlein representing another team within his original contract despite there being no Mercedes race commitments as of December 2018.

This forced Wehrlein to miss the season-opening Ad Diriyah E-Prix for Mahindra which was forced to call upon IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist as a replacement.

Mahindra is believed to have an option on Wehrlein’s services for the 2019-20 season and he is expected to be confirmed for a second season shortly.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Chris

    September 19, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Interesting. I think the great thing is that he’s in a strong position. If Mahindra have a competitive dive train again this year, then he’ll show his talent as he did last season, especially in qualifying where he excelled.

    If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll have lots of very good options in FE in coming seasons. And because of the way FE works, you always have a chance of success. Except if you’re a NIO driver last season I guess.

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