Pascal Wehrlein believes a successful return to DTM would re-boost his reputation, after having “no chance of shining” while racing in Formula 1. 

Despite scoring Sauber’s only points last season, the German was dropped from the Swiss team’s line-up following its tie-up with Ferrari for 2018, paving the way for Scuderia protege Charles Leclerc to make his F1 bow alongside regular Marcus Ericsson.

It was announced on Wednesday that Wehrlein would be rejoining DTM to make up Mercedes’ six-driver line-up before the German manufacturer pulls the plug on its DTM programme in favour of a switch to Formula E. 

Wehrlein won the DTM title in 2015 with Mercedes to become the youngest-ever champion in Germany's premier touring car series at the age of 19, before moving into F1 for the following season with Manor. 

When asked if he felt a successful return to DTM would help enhance his reputation to onlooking F1 teams, Wehrlein replied: “Yes. I think that I would improve my position if I would be able to battle it out at the front end of the field and impress with great races right away. 

“If you are racing in Formula 1 for the backmarkers and have no chance of shining as securing better results is virtually impossible you easily fall into oblivion.

"Winning races - that's something I haven't experience for two years and encountering such a dry spell is anything but easy. This was a major motivation for me to return to DTM. I really missed this feeling.”

Wehrlein admits his biggest challenge will be re-adapting to DTM machinery after two years of racing in F1.

“I want to be competitive as fast as possible. And I would love to have a car that offers me the chance of winning races. But first of all I have to re-adapt - and I have got just two days of testing to do so. 

“The highest expectations I have to meet are my own ones. I won't pressurise myself but I'm a very ambitious person. Nonetheless, talking about the title makes absolutely no sense at this point in time."

 

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