Sahara Force India is pleased to announce that Pascal Wehrlein will drive for the team at the upcoming testing session in Barcelona, Spain beginning on 19 February. The 20-year-old German, who is the official reserve driver of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team and a works Mercedes AMG DTM driver, will spend two days behind the wheel of the team’s 2014 car, the VJM07.
Sahara Force India’s testing programme will focus primarily on evaluation of the 2015 Pirelli tyres. The test will also provide the opportunity for Pascal to continue his Formula One learning and build on the strong performance he showed with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS at the season-ending test in Abu Dhabi last year.
The test in Barcelona marks the beginning of Pascal’s association with Sahara Force India with the Mercedes-Benz junior driver also scheduled to participate in two in-season tests.
Pascal will drive the VJM07 on Thursday and Saturday. Sergio Perez will drive on Friday and Nico Hulkenberg on Sunday. Given the team’s current build schedule, the VJM08 is now expected to make its debut at the second Barcelona test scheduled to begin on 26 February.
Pascal Wehrlein: “I am very happy that Sahara Force India has offered me the opportunity to drive their car for two days at the official test in Barcelona and that Mercedes-Benz has supported me to make this happen. As a young driver, any time you can spend in the car is extremely important and you can learn a lot. I know the simulator already, but I don´t have much experience on the track. My first goal in Spain will be to do a great job together with the team, to learn as much as possible and to give good feedback to the engineers. I have already driven the world champion Mercedes-Benz F1 W05 Hybrid and the comparison with Sahara Force India will be very exciting for me: the way the team works, how they improve the car and handle problems – all this will help me to gain experience and to reach the next level in my development. Everybody knows that lap times only play a secondary role when you’re testing. But of course I want to be as competitive as possible. Sahara Force India performed very strongly last season and I hope I will be able to make a small contribution to push the team forward and be ready for the opening race in Melbourne.”
Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “I’m pleased to give Pascal a chance to work with us in Barcelona. He’s an exciting young talent who has already proved he has what it takes to be successful at the highest level in motorsport. As a reserve driver for Mercedes-Benz, he’s clearly destined for a career in Formula One and I’m sure the test will be a positive experience on both sides. Being able to call upon Pascal for testing duties is also a clear demonstration of our strong working relationship with our engine partner, Mercedes-Benz, and I thank them for their collaboration.”