Despite being arguably F1’s best rookie last year with Manor, the former DTM champion was first overlooked for a Force India promotion with team-mate Esteban Ocon getting the nod instead.
As a Mercedes protégé, Wehrlein then logically emerged as a potential candidate to replace Nico Rosberg when the 2016 world champion announced his shock retirement from the sport last month.
However, the German manufacturer felt it was too soon to promote the 22-year-old to its championship-winning works outfit. With Manor’s future growing dim over the winter, Wehrlein has now found refuge at Sauber.
“I am very delighted at being a part of the Sauber F1 Team for the upcoming Formula One Season,” he said upon the announcement.
“It is a new challenge in a new team, and I am really excited and looking forward to this new adventure. Our objective is to establish ourselves in the mid-field and to score points on a regular basis. That being said, I will do my best to support Sauber.
“Now I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the team and to tackling the preparations for the 2017 season. I want to say a big thank you to Sauber for trusting in me and giving me this great chance. And surely, a huge thanks also goes to Mercedes for the support.”
Wehrlein’s confirmation means there are only two seats left on the 2017 grid, provided that Manor, which fell into administration in early January, finds a buyer before this Friday.
It also suggests that Valtteri Bottas’ move to Mercedes is all but sealed with an announcement expected this week.
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