With Mercedes set to bid farewell to DTM, Pascal Wehrlein acknowledges that one of the doors for Mercedes’ youngsters into F1 is about to be closed.
Wehrlein, a member of Mercedes’ junior driver programme, won the 2015 DTM crown earning him a shot at Formula 1.
With Mercedes’ backing he raced for Manor last season before stepping up to a Sauber seat for 2017.
However, with Mercedes withdrawing from Formula 1, the German admits Mercedes will need to embrace other avenues for their young drivers into F1.
“Definitely with Mercedes you had the chance to still go in F1,” he said.
“DTM is not the normal way. You start in Formula 4, Formula 3, Formula 2, GP3, that’s the normal way.
“I can just tell you about my case, it was not possible for me to drive in GP2; I did not have the budget of one and a half millions so I had to decide what can I do after Formula 3.
“For me it was clear that there was an offer from Mercedes that I could drive DTM, I’m getting paid and don’t have to spend crazy amount of money for another year of Formula 3 or something like this.
“As I said, GP2 was not possible, so for me the only option was DTM and I was really happy about that chance.
“I always knew if I did a good job, winning and so on, there could still be a chance to arrive in F1, luckily I won DTM and now I’m in F1, but I think this is only possible with Mercedes.
“So now maybe without DTM they will put their drivers in Formula 3, GP3 and F2 and maybe they now don’t try any more to go the second way.”