Wehrlein ‘absolutely in contention’ at Williams – Lowe
Williams’ Paddy Lowe insists Pascal Wehrlein is very much in the running for a 2018 seat with the Grove-based outfit, regardless of sponsor Martini’s preference for an older driver.
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The 23-year-old Mercedes protégé is in line for a drive along with Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta.
Williams recently tested both Kubica and di Resta in a 2014-spec car for evaluation purposes, an exercise Wehrlein has no need undertake.
“Somebody like Pascal, I don’t need to put him in a car, because he’s in a car every week,” Lowe explained.
“What’s most important for the team is to pick a driver line-up that gives us the best performance and the most exciting racing potential for 2018.
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“There are some issues around advertising and Martini, but if it came to it I’m sure Martini will understand the importance, if that’s what we were to choose, to have the best line-up for racing rather than for advertising.
“We’ll cross that bridge if we need to. Age is not a factor in our primary objective, which is to pick the best line-up.”
Lowe thus denies Williams’ choice for who partners Lance Stroll in 2018 is a binary one, and limited to either Kubica or di Resta.
“Our consideration of drivers remains completely open, including Felipe [Massa], who is definitely very high in our consideration, among a range of drivers which is wider than any we’ve tested in cars as well, said Lowe.
“It’s obvious with Robert that he’s on a journey to determine whether he can drive a car to the level that he drove in the past.
“And we’re exploring that with him, and seeing where that takes us. In his case that’s why we did two tests with him, actually.
“And with Paul, he’s been our reserve driver for a number of years, and we actually haven’t given him very much mileage.
“It was an evaluation, that’s why we don’t use other words [such as shootout], because clearly that’s not a current F1 car.”
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