Why Pascal Wehrlein Won’t Achieve In F1
Pascal Wehrlein is a very good racing driver, don’t get me wrong, he certainly has speed and good race craft and I am one of his biggest supporters. The young German did a great job in the Manor last year and clearly deserves a crack at F1 if talent is your only barometer.
Things however didn’t seem right behind the scenes when Force India picked Esteban Ocon to drive for 2017 when clearly Wehrlein was the next in line for a move up the grid. Force India claimed that Ocon was a better character, a nicer guy, easier to work with. This says a lot about the temperament of young Pascal. A great young talent but the attitude God complex that puts people off.
A few weeks later the world champion Nico Rosberg walked into the sunset carrying his title trophy in his bag and leaving behind a surprised, shocked Mercedes team with a free berth, a championship level drive. Surely Pascal would be the shoe-in for he promotion right? He’s already a junior driver for Mercedes, he has thousands of miles of test mileage for the team, knows everyone and had a great learning year in the Manor.. why wouldn’t you choose him?
On Thursday in Melbourne whilst gearing up for the season opener, the Mercedes management opened up a little about their decision to shun their own and opt prise Bottas out of a Williams contract instead. Toto hinted that his character was the main reason, not his experience as earlier used as an explanation. He lost out on the drive due to his very strong character meaning fireworks with established triple world champion Lewis Hamilton.
But clearly a driver being so motivated to win isn’t a bad thing right? Being nice doesn’t earn you any points in F1. There is also justification for Mercedes wanting someone A-political such as Bottas after the previous in-team fighting hurt the team.
There is however something else, clearly this isn’t just motivation / desire, it is a God complex, it is rude and abrasive. Wehrlein did himself no favours with publicly rejecting team instructions last year. Adding up all of the pieces you could almost call his attitude toxic.
When I woke this morning I heard the news that Pascal had asked not to take part in the rest of this weekend, his first Grand Prix weekend for the Sauber team. He completed Friday practice but apparently is feeling side affects from his back injury sustained at the race of champions earlier this year. If the chap is ill then fair enough, but this is your big opportunity. Think of the Heroes of F1 that drove through the pain, look at Mercedes boss Niki Laura who came back to the cockpit still suffering horrendous burns, look at Mark Webber driving with a shoulder and David Coulthard driving in pain after surviving a plane crash. The honour of lining up on the grid and getting to drive one of these cars is so great that surely you would at least try? Especially after being cleared to race by the FIA doctor there is clearly no obvious damage here.
The very excellent Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle said he’d rather do 30 laps then retire with pain rather than giving over the car to someone else.
Sauber will be glad to have Giovinazzi available to jump in at such short notice, no doubt thrilled at the opportunity.
One wonders if Pascal would have made the same choice if driving for the big team? I don’t think he would. Do you?