Wehrlein now plays down Force India link

Oct.21 (GMM) Pascal Wehrlein has played down suggestions he will definitely fill the vacant spot left by Nico Hulkenberg at Force India for 2017.

Many in the paddock believe the Mercedes-backed Manor driver is assured the seat with the Silverstone based team, but Wehrlein said in Austin that a deal is not done.

“It’s not in my hands,” the German is quoted by Auto Bild.

“Mercedes or Toto Wolff will continue with the appropriate contacts. If it was me, I could very well imagine another year at Manor,” added Wehrlein.

Force India – fourth overall in 2016 – would seem to be a clear step up for Wehrlein, but he explained that a second year at Manor would also be acceptable.

Auto Bild reports that some Force India engineers are arguing against signing Wehrlein, and that another option is his current Manor teammate, Esteban Ocon.

“In most cases, you reap the rewards of your work in the second year,” said Wehrlein, referring to the possibility of staying at Manor.

“I am fully involved in the development of the new car, and considering the step Manor made from last year to this year, this is a good sign,” added Wehrlein.

He also said the fact that Pat Fry and Nicolas Tombazis’ first Manor car will be the 2017 one, that is “a good sign”.

“Now in the last four races we need to maintain the place in front of Sauber for the prize money, which can be put to good use with the new car,” he said.

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