2015 DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein and Mercedes-Benz are to part ways at the end of the 2018 DTM season at the end of the German’s current contract.
Wehrlein joined the DTM grid at the start of 2013, becoming the youngest driver in the sereis’ history. He went on to become the youngest winner in 2014 and then the youngest champion in 2015.
The German then spent two seasons in Formula 1 in 2016 and 2017, before re-joining the DTM grid for 2018, Mercedes’ last in the series.
So far, Wehrlein has been unable to add to his win tally of three victories this year, where he is the fifth best Mercedes driver in the standings, eighth overall in the drivers’ table.
“My contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season and we have jointly decided not to continue further together,” said Wehrlein. “I am looking for new challenges and opportunities, and am currently talking to other teams about a cockpit for next season.
“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 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’ Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff says that now is the right time to end the manufacturers’ contract with 23-year-old Wehrlein.
“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.”