Mercedes development driver Pascal Wehrlein has said he will be competing in Formula 1 with Manor Racing this season, according to reports in the German media.
As Mercedes' F1 reserve and development driver, the 21 year-old has been linked with the available drive for several months after the British-based team – which has scored just one top ten finish since its 2010 debut – secured a landmark deal to run Mercedes power in 2016.
Though Manor itself has remained quiet over which drivers it is talking to amidst several announcements confirming new technical staff, with less than two weeks to go until testing gets underway, Wehrlein is quoted by Germany's Auto Bild
as saying Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has negotiated an F1 deal for him..
“The discussions were done by Toto Wolff for me," he told the publication. "He helps me a lot, for which I am very, very grateful. A dream has come true. Since I visited was six when my first Grand Prix, I wanted to become Formula 1 driver.”
Winner of the DTM title last year, if confirmed, Wehrlein would step up to F1 having accumulated a significant amount of testing with both the Mercedes F1 team and also Force India after he was loaned to the team during last year's pre-season tests.
Manor Racing is tipped to make big strides in 2016 on the back of its new deal with Mercedes, which also includes a technical partnership with Williams. It has already announced a series of notable technical acquisitions, including Pat Fry and Nikolas Tombazis.