Just Electric

Wehrlein: “This is the first time I’ve been my own manager”

Pascal Wehrlein may only be 24-years-old but he has already packed a lot into his career.

The youngest driver to win a race in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisters) when he won at the Lausitzring in 2014 before winning at the Norisring and Moscow Raceway in 2015 as he became the youngest champion in the history of the series.

After two seasons in Formula 1 for Manor and Sauber and another season of DTM, he is about to embark on his Formula E debut at the opening round at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

However, he won’t be pulling a double duty between Formula E and DTM as Mercedes are pulling out of the series in order to focus on a works programme in Formula E.

What this means, though, is that the door is now open for Wehrlein to compete in other series and races.

When asked by Just Electric about the impact of Mercedes’ withdrawal had on him making the decision to race in Formula E and whether he thought he could do other races such as the Bathurst 12 hours and the 24 hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa Francorchamps, he remarked that "At first, I hadn’t thought about those races. Now, when you say Bathurst, that’s an amazing race to do –and maybe I would do it in the future, let’s see!"

“First of all, I’m happy to join Mahindra for this season. Obviously, I parted ways with Mercedes a few weeks ago, and since then, I had a look at all the possible options for next year.

“This has been the first time I have been my own manager, and that’s why I wanted to have a look at all the other options. Mahindra Racing is a great opportunity for me, that’s why I decided to do that.

“It also allows me to do something else, to explore some new and different categories, so I will probably do some more racing in some new countries, so I’m looking forward to this season.

Wehrlein was also well aware that despite having competed in Formula 1, moving to Formula E would be a challenge despite the new sporting and technical regulations for this season.

When queried on whether he thought he had picked a more advantageous time to move into the series, Pascal commented "About the regulations, I knew the cars, so everyone has to explore the cars, to understand them again, and look up all the setup tools, and so on.

“Still, if you got to experience the years before, you know what you need from the car, so as I don’t have that experience, everything’s new for me.

“There are so many things to learn from here, like the extra loop or the hyper-boost, so it’s new for everyone, and especially for me.

“Having no experience in FE it’s challenging, as you have to learn new things in a couple of days, to be close to perfection in everything.”

The German-Mauritian driver admitted that having one of the most experienced drivers on the grid in Jerome d’Ambrosio as a team-mate was helpful for learning about the series. “It’s great because he can already say how the setup should be from his experience in the previous years, so of course he’s also helpful to me.

"I’m learning a lot from him, it’s good to have him, and he’s a nice guy, so I’m looking forward to race together with him.”

Thanks to his experiences driving for both well-funded teams and also teams with fewer resources than most, his expectations are realistic for the upcoming season.

When asked whether podiums and race wins were his goals for this season, he said “Yes, that’s my goal!

“I always have the attitude that I want to win and be the best, so I will try to learn as fast as possible.

“Obviously, the car is playing a role too, so as a team, we are trying to be as close as possible.

“So if it allows me to, of course, I want to be on the podium and win races, but the most important thing, in the beginning, is to learn as quick and as much as possible.

“Then I think we’ll be in a good place. Mahindra has always shown it’s capable of achieving podiums and wins, so I’m not too worried about that.”

Rob Lomas

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