Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe has resisted ruling out Pascal Wehrlein from a potential move to the team in 2018 as a final decision on the team’s Formula 1 driver line-up is delayed.

Williams has recently hosted private tests with Robert Kubica driving a 2014-specificaiton F1 car at Silverstone and the Hungaroring, along with Paul di Resta getting a day in the car as a comparison in Hungary, as the both drivers put forward their bids for a race seat in 2018.

With Lance Stroll looking set to retain his place at Williams for next season, Felipe Massa’s position is under pressure from Kubica and di Resta while current Sauber driver Wehrlein also remains in contention, according to Lowe.

“Somebody like Pascal I do not need to put in a car because he is in a car every week,” Lowe said. “I think what is most important for the team is to pick a driver line-up that will give us the best performance and the most exciting racing potential for 2018.”

One of Wehrlein’s tripping points for Williams is his age. At 23, coming in alongside Stroll would mean Williams wouldn’t have a driver over the age of 25 which is a current requirement of its sponsorship deal with title partner Martini but Lowe has also downplayed this issue which he’s confident could be resolved if the German driver arrived at the British F1 team.

“There are some issues with advertising and Martini but if it came to it I’m sure Martini would understand the importance if that is what we wanted to have the best line-up for racing over advertising,” he said. “We will cross the bridge if we have to. All potential drivers, we are not ruling out any of them yet. Age is not a factor in our primary objective of picking the best performing ones.

“Our consideration of drivers remains completely open including Felipe who is high in our considerations among a range of drivers. It is not just to who has test in the car.”

During the United States GP, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff – who manages Wehrlein inside the German manufacturer ranks – admits Williams is the 23-year-old’s only option in F1 for 2018.

“The Williams is the option that is left,” Wolff said. “Williams is considering a number of drivers. For Pascal, the chance is there, but we can’t really do more than we’ve done.”

It is believed if Wehrlein did win the race for the Williams place it could be boosted by a cut-price Mercedes engine deal, a similar move which triggered Valtteri Bottas leaving the British team to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg for 2017.


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