Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein looks set to make his Formula 1 debut at next week’s Barcelona pre-season test according to German media reports.
The 20-year-old won’t be driving a Mercedes though, but a Force India. It’s claimed the Silverstone based team’s financial troubles are such that they’ve failed to pay engine supplier Mercedes.
In return for writing-off a portion of the debt, Mercedes will place Wehrlein in the 2014 Force India for one or more days of the four-day test, giving the DTM racer some early experience.
Force India are struggling with their preparations for the new season and have already skipped one test and have confirmed they won’t be running their 2015 car, the VJM08, at the second test. They will instead run the VJM07 to collect some data.
The team are hopeful that their new car will run at the third and final test, but deputy team principal Bob Fernley recently hinted that that might not happen.
Wehrlein placed 8th in last year’s DTM championship with one victory and was announced as Mercedes’ reserve driver for 2015 last year.
He will continue racing in DTM with the HWA AG team, whilst attending several F1 races with the opportunity to take part in the in-season tests for the Anglo-German team.