Quick Chat: Pascal Wehrlein
Pascal, what’s your assessment of the season so far in the DTM, and who do you think will be inheriting your crown as the new DTM champion?
Pascal Wehrlein: Obviously, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for my former Mercedes team-mates. From their perspective, the season has been going very well. I’ve been very pleased about that, because the team initially didn’t know exactly how well the new car would perform. But it turned out that Mercedes were now highly competitive on tracks where they wouldn’t have expected to be in the last few years, and that they’ve got the best out of the car there. I’m expecting the title chase to be a straight fight between BMW and Mercedes. My prediction is that it will be either Marco Wittmann or Robert Wickens. They are the two drivers who I regard as most likely to win the championship this season. In the last few races, we’ve seen how each of the three manufacturers has been focusing on one or at the most two drivers. It’s apparent to me that the manufacturers who were complaining loudest last year are now relying heavily on strategy. So for that reason, I wouldn’t rule any of the current Top Five or Top Six out of contention.
You now have 13 Formula 1 races behind you. How would you sum up your progress so far?
Pascal Wehrlein: In very positive terms. Formula 1 has been a really cool experience for me so far. It’s like a dream come true. I’ve also had some successes, most notably of course my first points finish at Spielberg. Thanks to this result, we are ahead of Sauber in the constructors’ championship. This is a great position for our team to be in and one that we aim to defend to the end of the season.
What targets have you set yourself for the rest of the campaign?
Pascal Wehrlein: At the beginning of the season, it was hard to set targets. My main ambition was to score points as a Manor driver. But given our situation, I knew that would be no easy task. The team has made a huge step forward this year, and the car has developed extremely well during the season. From that perspective, we have achieved our goals and also had some successes such as in Bahrain, in Austria and in qualifying last weekend in Belgium. When you achieve your primary targets, you obviously set your next targets even higher. We’ve managed to bridge the gap to the midfield. We now intend to take more steps forward during the rest of the season. In this regard, the upcoming race weekend at Monza is going to be very important, as we think that our strong Mercedes Power Unit should once again stand us in good stead.