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Pascal Wehrlein: Manor’s “real progress” earns first F1 point and piles pressure on Sauber
XPB.cc Pascal Wehrlein
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  04 Jul 2016   |  4:59 pm GMT  |  27 comments

Pascal Wehrlein believes Manor has made “real progress”, which helped him score his first Formula 1 career point and the British team’s first point of 2016 at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Wehrlein was one of the stars of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring as he converted a superb 12th place in qualifying into a P10 finish in the race, which both represent career-best performances for the German rookie.

Speaking after yesterday’s race, Wehrlein explained that Manor has been making steady progress on its car and power unit package throughout 2016, the first year it has used a Mercedes V6 engine, and described his point as a “really great reward” for the squad’s hard work.

As we will explain in tomorrow’s UBS Race Strategy Report, Manor also benefitted greatly last weekend from not having as much downforce as its rivals and thus putting less load through the tyres, so avoiding overheating and graining them. Wehrlein was able to capitalise on this and on his detailed knowledge of the Red Bull Ring circuit to have his most competitive weekend to date.

Crucially it puts pressure on Sauber, which now falls behind Manor in the Constructor’s Championship as the team has yet to score a point. This could count for a lot financially at the end of the season if Sauber does not react.

XPB.cc Pascal Werhlein

He said: “[Finishing tenth is] very important. Not just because of what it means for our position in the Championship, but it also shows that we have made real progress.

“It’s been a step by step process, and one that hasn’t always been visible to people outside of the team, but today is a good day and a really great reward for all of us.”

Wehrlein’s race in Austria got off to a less-than-stellar start when he lined up in the tenth spot on the grid, which should have been accompanied by the pitlane-bound Williams of Felipe Massa, and not his own 12th place.

The 21-year-old quickly reversed back to his correct spot, which is not forbidden by the rules, and managed to get his car stopped before the red starting lights came on. This was crucial, as any car moving during the red light period would have been given a penalty.

XPB.cc Pascal Werhlein Austrian Grand Prix grid 2016

But from there Wehrlein delivered a strong race performance, which involved recovering from last to tenth during the second half, as he had made his only pitstop just before the safety car was called out to allow Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari to be recovered following its tyre blowout and his midfield rivals were given a free pitstop.

“At one point I was feeling quite dejected, because we were a little unlucky with our strategy in relation to the safety car,” said Wehrlein. “I’d just pitted, so when I came out after my second stop, I was last.

“That wasn’t such a great feeling, but we just had to work with what we had, which was Soft tyres all the way to the finish – 40 laps! To finish the race in the points from that position by running for more than half a race distance on a single set of tyres is an incredible achievement.”

Dave Ryan Manor

Manor’s racing director Dave Ryan hailed Wehrlein’s performance in Austria and agreed with his driver’s assessment that it reflected the team’s efforts so far this year.

He said: “After [Saturday’s] Q2 performance in qualifying, today’s point-scoring finish is a fantastic way to end a really positive weekend. The most important thing about it is that it shows that we’re a serious team and we’re working extremely hard to improve.

“Pascal has been looking comfortable the whole time we’ve been here in Austria and even though there was a point in the race where things were not looking so great for him, we felt sure he would turn it around.

Pascal Wehrlein

“That’s exactly what he did and he put himself in exactly the right position to take advantage if things came his way.

Wehrlein’s point makes him the second racer to score points for Manor since the team made its F1 debut as Virgin Racing back in 2010.

The other driver was Jules Bianchi, who gave the squad it’s first F1 points with his ninth place finish at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix – a race where he was actually given a penalty for lining up in the wrong position on the grid.

Jules Bianchi

What did you make of Wehrlein’s performance in Austria? Do you think it reflects Manor’s hard work to step up in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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When you look at the financial reward of points scoring and the relative performance of the Manor drivers, makes you wonder why teams don’t roll the dice and go for the best available talent over money. I’m looking at you Sauber. Seems like short versus long term gain always wins.


So, the moral of this story is that Manor only score points when they line up in the wrong grid-slot…


Perhaps it was a premonition which made Wehrlein take up Massa’s grid position? If he continues his good performances he could be a candidate for the (expected) position at Williams next season. It would keep him in a Mercedes engine team and on course for an eventual drive for the Silver Arrows. He would also be cheaper than the alternative drivers, which would benefit a perennially hard-up private team like Williams.


He did very well in Austria, no doubt helped by the various factors described in the article. Overall though, while he’s clearly capable, I don’t think he’s done anything amazingly special. Haryanto is not the hopeless rent-a-driver some think he is, but given how highly rated Wehrlein is, one would have expected a more consistent sense of domination in the German half of Manor’s garage. Anyway, good luck to the team, they’ve done a brilliant job to come back from where they were 18 months ago.


It’s great for Manor, but I can’t help feel sorry for Sauber. Sauber for me are a staple of F1, and the Sauber name has been in the sport since the early 90’s. I have fond memories of them been a strong midfield team supported by sponsorship deals with Red Bull and Petronas. They’ve been a part of many of many decent drivers career including Jacques Villeneuve, Jean Alesi, Heinz-Harold Frentzen, Johnny Herbert, Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica (who scored the teams only victory during the BMW years), and current stars Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Gutierrez, Felipe Massa and even Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
It would be a crying shame if the Sauber name disappears from Gp racing. It’s had a longer acsociation with F1 than many remember.


I’d go as far as mention few other slightly less prominent drivers who drove for Sauber: JJ Lehto, late Andrea de Cesaris, Mika Salo, Kamui Kobayashi…
It would be real shame, if we lose Sauber.


As significant as Jules’ points in Monaco were, I think this point is more “legit” for Manor – they beat the opposition fair and square on pace the whole weekend, and there’s a realistic chance of them doing so again at other tracks before the year end. Wehrlein did a good job too, shame his race was virtually ignored by the cameras and commentators. First signs for me that he is deserving of a significant promotion up the grid.


Is it just me? I have been completely unimpressed by this Mercedes backed driver this year – regularly outpaced by his conveniently forgotten rookie team-mate Harayanto – not exactly someone I can imagine driving for a race winning team..

Similarly, after qualifying it went without saying that the foolish would once again state how special Hulkenburg was and how he should in a front running car.

I think considering both the Force India’s starting position and eventual overlap during the race will have put paid to this public disservice once and for all also.

Tornillo Amarillo

WEHRLEIN was great, while historically many other drivers working in teams at the very back of the field cannot show their skills -or sponsors- to be in F1 and soon they are ditched, Pascal has already shown he is in it for staying.

WEHRLEIN showed determination and professionalism while other drivers inexplicably were colliding each other (I mean in Sauber, what did you think…).

Paul williams

Hi James, could you please let us know what 1 point is worth to a small team. What kind of contribution does it make to the following year in real terms? Thank you. Regards, Paul.


That depends how many points Sauber score. If they end up scoring 2 points then it won’t mean a great deal to Manor as they will still be at last but if they don’t then it will probably be worth around 30 – 50 mill (someone can correct me if I am wrong on the exact figure). But it isn’t just financial reward that is so big, it will now motivate the team to push harder for the rest of the season and the design team for next year now that they now they are moving in the right direction, especially as this seems it wasn’t just a fluke (ok track suited their car but they qualified well and raced well to move forward)


I think it’s something like 10 million dollars. The team who finishes last in the championship don’t get any money at all


I’m more happy for Manor, Pascal has had his successes and will have many more and it was a great achievement for him, but Manor really get little praise though they nearly always get both Cars home and right up there for Pac through the fastest speed traps in F1. They find that magic ingredient that goes into a great chassis and who knows what could happen. It’s exciting for F1 too…

Now it’s up to Sauber and they are capable, but never seem to get any luck go their way.


Oh, Mr Wolff how about doing a Red Bull and swapping this sensible and sensible driver for the hot-head Rosberg before he makes a complete fool of himself and your team.


All I can say is “finally”!!! Great to see Manor got the well deserved point. As usual Sky broadcasters pretty much ignored the whole thing. Either Sky management or FIA need to look at the current team. Especially, I can’t see the value in watching Simon, Herbert and Hill being on the show.


When you look down Sky’s line-up, they have more good presenters/reporters than bad, but unfortunately the worst ones like Lazenby and Herbert are in some of the most prominent positions. Croft and Brundle are still a decent pairing, and Ant Davidson, Ted Kravitz, Rachel Brookes and Craig Slater all do solid jobs.


I’m just not a fan of the sky coverage really. I much preferred the BBC from the personalities to the creativity behind the production of the show and it appears Ch4 have tried to take as much of the BBC team as possible. While Sky’s may do a bit deeper analysis and it just cold and uninteresting and Herbert… Well, lets not talk about him


I’m really glad they did well.
So many times teams in the back get overlooked.
They put huge effort into it, probably even more than big teams do, given the resources (money) they have, far less people to do the same job,
Well done, Manor…hopefully there’s more to come for you.


Great stuff for them, not sure of how the race went further down the field but it seems like they got it on merit. He is a very lucky boy to to avoid a penalty though for reversing on the grid, I can’t believe that’s not against the rules, very dangerous.


Superb drive.
A obvious choice to replace Nico at Mercedes……cheaper too……and will undoubtedly be faster than his senior team mate……just like Max.


Give the young lad a go at Mercedes
Give Rosberg the elbow!!!!
He deserves it.
Rosberg deserves the Manor.
No offence to Manor.
Think they are doing a great job.
Though I wish their livery didn’t remind me of my brand of Tooth Paste .


If it is subliminally there already, maybe your brand of toothpaste could sponsor them a bit now?


SR Manor ? Blue and Red stripes.
That’s the only one I can think of .
Has a great ring of confidence to it…
Okay that saying is on a different brand of Tooth Paste. ?


“Manor also benefitted greatly last weekend from not having as much downforce as its rivals and thus putting less load through the tyres, so avoiding overheating and graining them………”

I thought having good downforce actually protected the tyres from excessive wear and tear? Maybe it’s down to the aero balance [downforce distribution] the aerodynamics of a certain car has. Assuming the Mercedes has a near perfect 49/51 front to rear downforce split (and therefore near perfect balance and grip front to rear), maybe some cars produce more downforce at the rear relative to the front, or vice versa? The Williams to casual observation seems like to be very skittish at the rear under heavy braking, suggesting it lacks rear downforce, so maybe on this occasion the Manor produces good rear wing downforce protecting it’s rear tyres?

Excellent drive from the youngster, one to watch for the future.


Sauber are Dead in The Water.
With a massive Hill to climb.
Major progress by Manor ?
Well done to Wehrlhein .
Maybe he’ll get a drive a Mercedes sooner than he thought. Rosberg may not have a renewal if he keeps aiming his car at Lewis .
([Mod] ?)


That Manor is streamliner.
Don’t know why it always gets top spot at the speed trap markers.

Must hv some of Wehrlein merit bcs Harianto doesn’t get the same accolades.


I think he has been impressive, whenever you have a real talent in the slowest car it shows, we saw this with Fernando at Minardi, Bianchi at Manor and now Pascal. There have been a few occasions when he has popped up in unlikely positions this year, particularly early in the race, and now he has his first point. Congratulations to him and the team.

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