Former F1 driver and DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein and Mercedes parted ways back in September during the Singapore GP, hinting at a possible career move requiring the absence of bonds with rival teams either in Formula 1 or outside. The German was later announced as part of Mahindra’s Formula E line-up for the upcoming Season 5, but his commitments for 2019 are set to involve more.
As Daniil Kvyat is re-joining Toro Rosso after having been demoted twice and Giovinazzi is moving to Sauber, Ferrari is on the lookout for new development drivers and Wehrlein appears to be on their shortlist. He never hid that a comeback in the series is among his top priorities, with the Ferrari simulator opportunity standing for an effective expedient to wrestle his way back into Formula 1.
Robert Kubica is also on the verge of embracing a developmental role for next year and, given that both roles are vacant at Ferrari, the Pole could have a shot. The target is to force yourself inside the picture, while awaiting more alluring opportunities. Holding links with Ferrari would provide Wehrlein with multiple chances, orbiting around Haas and Sauber, with the latter being among his former F1 teams.
Per motorsport.com, Ferrari is willing to sign the German owing to his Mercedes-related inside knowledge, in order to find a way to have the upper hand on their rivals. By welcoming Wehrlein on board, Ferrari dribbles the formal ‘gardening leave’ issue it would normally encounter with an engineer or a manager, also allowing specific information to flow within the outfit.
Coming from a driver, whose field of expertise is extensive, Ferrari would hypothetically gain ground twice as fast as it would through an engineer. Hence, the cross-fertilization between Wehrlein and the Maranello-based squad would get into full force, possibly becoming partially detrimental to the reigning champions, although the advantage they currently possess is set to last until 2020.