Pascal Wehrlein says Manor could be 'a very competitive team' in 2017 as he revealed he would be prepared to re-sign for the next season to help the minnow team achieve its mid-field aspirations.
Having struggled towards the back of the grid since its debut in 2010, Manor – formerly Virgin Racing and Marussia – is enjoying its most competitive season yet in 2016, helped in part by fresh investment and a landmark deal to use Mercedes engines.
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Scoring only its second ever top ten finish in the Austrian Grand Prix with Mercedes protégé Wehrlein, though the highly-rated German has been tipped for a rapid ascension through the F1 ranks, he insists he is happy to persevere with Manor if there are no opportunities available to him.
“Of course I would like to go to Mercedes straight away and win races and hopefully championships but if there's no opportunity I'm also happy to get another year with Manor,” he said. “I really like the team, I like how the team is working and I think the team is the same with me. I think they enjoy working with me.”
Indeed, with Manor having made a substantial step forward over the last twelve months – lapping more than two seconds a lap faster at some venues than its predecessor -, Wehrlein feels the benefit of experience will see the British outfit take more strides in 2017.
“I think next year is a big chance for every team to improve their position. With new regulations it's always a bit of an unknown where to go and what the direction is. The first year of regulation changes you never know who is going to be competitive and who is not.
“I think Manor could be a very competitive team next year. Even some people joined very late last year or the beginning of this year and the car was designed for this year already so I think next year's car we have even more input coming from more people.”
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