Pascal Wehrlein is shortly to be announced as a race driver for Manor Racing, sources have now confirmed.
It always seemed highly likely that Mercedes would use the engine supply deal as leverage to find a seat for Wehrlein, as Ferrari previously did with Jules Bianchi.
However Toto Wolff insisted last year that the 2016 Manor package would be so attractive to drivers with sponsorship that the team could sell the seat for a price that exceeded any discount Mercedes would be willing to give on its power unit package. Clearly that scenario did not play out as Woolf suggested.
Rio Haryanto, Alex Rossi and Will Stevens have all been connected with the team over the winter. Haryanto has substantial backing while as recently as last week Rossi told Sky that he was still optimistic about the deal.
Meanwhile Merc’s other junior driver Esteban Ocon will continue to gain F1 mileage as Renault’s third driver.