Over the last two weeks there have been two driver changes, we have seen Pastor Maldonado depart Renault, and Kevin Magnussen replace him on 3rd February at Renault’s launch, and last Wednesday it was confirmed that Manor had finally chosen a driver, Pascal Wehrlein would join in association with the team’s new Mercedes engines.
Let’s first start with the Renault Launch, their hashtag #HearUsComing slowly turned to #HearUsAdvertising, before #HearUsMarketing. The Renault presentation was probably one of the most underwhelming ever. Firstly, The site crashed 40 minutes prior to the event. The event was due to start at 13:15CET however, when many tuned in at that time, the F1 car looked like many of Renault’s modern day road cars. The advertisements continued for another 20 minutes before the event even started to show any signs of kicking off.When it finally started. There was a lot of chatter, and a lot of marketing, advertising Renault in Formula E, Renault improving sustainability, and so on and so forth. Finally the drivers were revealed with Kevin Magnussen being the big name, Jolyon Palmer and Esteban Ocon (on loan from Mercedes) also being introduced. Magnussen was releaved that the Renault deal came through, because there were points that it looked destined to fail. As soon as the got onto the stage, they revealed a very dull car. They later confirmed it was a test livery on the 2014 car. It was mostly black and the smallest bit of yellow as the Renault Sport Formula One Team was introduced.
Last Wednesday, Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes’ test and reserve driver was confirmed as Manor’s lead driver. Pascal is the reigning DTM champion and tested on many occasions for Force India as well as Mercedes in 2015.
Pascal said, “It [Manor Racing] is a great place for me to start my F1 racing career. I’m very pleased to be here. Though it’s my first F1 season my aim is to help Stephen and the guys achieve their goals. It will be a tough challenge but I think we should be able to challenge for points along the way. It’s going to be good fun.”
Manor Racing’s new Team Principal, Stephen Fitzpatrick said “Pascal is a sharp driver with a very promising future. We’ve chosen a driver with the talent and hunger to match our ambitions.”
Just one seat remains in the Formula One field, at Manor Racing. Time will tell who that driver will be as we only have a week till pre season testing gets underway in Barcelona.