Pascal Wehrlein says he remains none the wiser as to whether he will be stepping up to Formula 1 in 2016 as Manor Racing continues to keep its driver plans for the new season under wraps.
The German is considered a strong contender for one of the two Manor Racing seats, but is in contention with a handful of other drivers for the only remaining berths, including Alexander Rossi – who impressed during a brief stint with the team last year – and well-backed GP2 race winner Rio Haryanto.
Indeed, though the Mercedes test driver was originally considered a favourite for the seat after Manor secured a supply of the manufacturer's engines for 2016, the German firm insists the deal was not dependent on it signing the reigning DTM champion in return.
With the first F1 test now less than six weeks away and no clear indication of when Manor will make its decision, Wehrlein says he remains in the dark about his future, but is now keen to receive some assurances soon.
“The status is unchanged,” he told Motorsport Total
. I hope that soon there will be something concrete because every driver needs to prepare as much as possible purposefully for the tasks ahead.
“It is not in my hands, so I have to take it any way as it comes. If it comes together, the I will be really happy about the leap into Formula 1. If not, then I can say I have given everything to achieve it during 2015.”
Should he indeed get the nod for the Manor drive, Wehrlein is keenly anticipating its potential for 2016 having secured a Mercedes engine supply, which many feel could spur the minnows into a mid-field challenger.
"I am looking forward to the development of Manor. If you are six or seven seconds slower, and thus fight just for last place can, then it is no fun for the drive, but it is sensible to learn. However, I believe that Manor this year with Mercedes engines and the support from Williams, a good move can succeed.”
“The 2015 Manor car was more or less a year old, so you cannot be competitive. The potential for a considerable increase is present. If the step is big enough, it can even get involved in the midfield, then makes a year there really temptng. Then you can gain experience, get to know the circuits and acclimatise. It would be good if you could fight with other teams.”