Mercedes AMG protégé Pascal Wehrlein will step up to the Formula 1 World Championship this season after Manor Racing confirmed him in one of its available seats for 2016.
Winner of the DTM title in 2015, Wehrlein has been a leading light of Mercedes' junior development programme, a role that has seen him complete numerous tests with the Mercedes F1 team, while he has also enjoyed several days behind the wheel with Force India.
As a result, Mercedes has rewarded the 21 year-old with a full-time F1 drive at Manor, a deal he describes as a 'dream come true'.
“Manor Racing is a great place for me to start my Formula One racing career - I'm very pleased to be here. It's a small and totally focused team and I soon hope to know everyone. Though it's my first F1 season my aim is to help Stephen and the guys achieve their goals.
“It will be a tough challenge but I think we should be able to challenge for points along the way. It's going to be good fun. A word for my racing family at Mercedes-Benz, and particularly for Toto, who have guided my career this far and made this opportunity possible.
“Thanks for the incredible support to help me achieve my dream; now it's down to me to grab the moment and perform on track.”
Though regarded as F1's minnow having cracked the top ten on just one occasion since its 2010 debut, Manor Racing is tipped to make significant strides in 2016 having secured a deal to use competitive Mercedes power units in 2016.
Indeed, though many had tipped Wehrlein to land one of the available seats as a result of this Mercedes collaboration, Manor Racing owner Stephen Fitzpatrick maintains the youngster is a perfect fit for the growing team regardless.
“Pascal is a sharp driver with a very promising future; Manor Racing is excited to have him aboard. We're a small team up for a big challenge this season, so we've chosen a driver with the talent and hunger to match our own on-track ambitions.
“Pascal has impressed in testing for Mercedes and Force India, together with commanding performances in DTM, culminating in the championship win last year. Manor Racing is perfectly placed to help Pascal make a big impact in his first season. We're looking forward to it!”
Wehrlein is expected to take up the #94 racing number on his Manor, the same number he used in DTM on his way to the 2015 drivers' title.
With pre-season testing - where the Mercedes-powered MRT05 will be given its first run - now less than two weeks' away, attention turns to who will join Wehrlein inn the second seat, with Rio Haryanto and Alexander Rossi considered the leading candidates.