Mercedes junior and recent Formula 1 driver Pascal Wehrlein will part ways at the end of the 2018 season after the German manufacturer was unable to secure him a competitive drive for next year.

After rising through Mercedes' junior system and winning the DTM title in 2015, Wehrlein made his Formula 1 debut the following year with Manor before joining Sauber for 2017.

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Despite leading Sauber's charge last year and scoring all five of its points, Wehrlein was dropped by the team following its decision to forge a close alliance with Ferrari sister brand Alfa Romeo, with the German unable to secure a seat elsewhere on the F1 grid.

Wehrlein has spent 2018 racing in DTM, but will now depart Mercedes at the end of the season, as confirmed by the team in a statement on Friday.

"My contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season and we have jointly decided not to continue further together. I am looking for new challenges and opportunities, and am currently talking to other teams about a cockpit for next season," Wehrlein said.

"I am very grateful for all the support Mercedes has offered me - from my first meeting with Gerhard Ungar and Norbert Haug in 2012, to the decision with Toto [Wolff] to join DTM instead of F3 in 2013, through to my title in 2015; it was a dream come true for a kid who drew up an hour from Stuttgart.

"That opened the door to Formula 1, first with Manor and then Sauber; the points I scored with both teams were huge moments. Thank you to everybody in Stuttgart, Affalterbach and Brackley who has supported me along the way. And now it's time to take the next step."

Mercedes motorsport boss added: "Our junior programme has always been about supporting young talent and finding opportunities that are in the best interests of the drivers' careers. It is not always a straight path to the top - and sometimes we have to recognise that it is the right time to end a relationship, too.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't offer Pascal a competitive drive for next year. In his best interests, we have therefore decided together with Pascal not to extend our agreement and to give him the best chance of securing an opportunity elsewhere that his talent merits.

"We want to thank him for his fantastic performances for Mercedes-Benz in recent years and wish him all the best for the future."

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