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Wehrlein to drive Force India at Barcelona

NEWS STORY
18/02/2015

Force India has announced that Pascal Wehrlein will drive for the team at the upcoming test in Barcelona.

The 20-year-old German, who is the official reserve driver Mercedes and a works Mercedes DTM driver, will spend two days at the wheel of the Silverstone outfit's 2014 car, the VJM07.

The team's testing programme will focus primarily on evaluation of the 2015 tyres. The test will also provide the opportunity for Wehrlein to continue his F1 learning and build on the strong performance he showed with Mercedes at the season-ending test in Abu Dhabi last year.

The test in Barcelona marks the beginning of his association with Force India with the Mercedes junior driver also scheduled to participate in two in-season tests.

Wehrlein will drive the VJM07 on Thursday and Saturday. Sergio Perez will drive on Friday and Nico Hulkenberg on Sunday. Given the team's current build schedule, the VJM08 is now expected to make its debut at the second Barcelona test scheduled to begin on 26 February.

"I am very happy that Sahara Force India has offered me the opportunity to drive their car for two days at the official test in Barcelona and that Mercedes-Benz has supported me to make this happen," said Wehrlein. "As a young driver, any time you can spend in the car is extremely important and you can learn a lot. I know the simulator already, but I donīt have much experience on the track. My first goal in Spain will be to do a great job together with the team, to learn as much as possible and to give good feedback to the engineers. I have already driven the world champion Mercedes-Benz F1 W05 Hybrid and the comparison with Sahara Force India will be very exciting for me: the way the team works, how they improve the car and handle problems - all this will help me to gain experience and to reach the next level in my development. Everybody knows that lap times only play a secondary role when you're testing. But of course I want to be as competitive as possible. Sahara Force India performed very strongly last season and I hope I will be able to make a small contribution to push the team forward and be ready for the opening race in Melbourne."

"I'm pleased to give Pascal a chance to work with us in Barcelona," added Vijay Mallya. "He's an exciting young talent who has already proved he has what it takes to be successful at the highest level in motorsport. As a reserve driver for Mercedes-Benz, he's clearly destined for a career in Formula One and I'm sure the test will be a positive experience on both sides. Being able to call upon Pascal for testing duties is also a clear demonstration of our strong working relationship with our engine partner, Mercedes-Benz, and I thank them for their collaboration."

Team Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Mercedes Hamilton Rosberg Hamilton Rosberg
Red Bull Ricciardo Ricciardo Kvyat Kvyat
Williams Wolff Bottas Massa Massa/Bottas
Ferrari Raikkonen Raikkonen Vettel Vettel
McLaren Button Button Alonso Alonso
Force India Wehrlein Perez Wehrlein Hulkenberg
Toro Rosso Verstappen Sainz Verstappen Sainz
Lotus Maldonado Palmer Maldonado Grosjean
Sauber Nasr Ericsson Ericsson Nasr

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