Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that Pascal Wehrlein "deserves" to be in Formula 1 and it is a "shame" that he finds himself with no seat for 2018.
Wehrlein was shown the door at Sauber as they opted to retain Marcus Ericsson and replace Wehrlein with Ferrari-backed Charles Leclerc as part of their new partnership with the Scuderia.
Wehrlein is part of Mercedes' driver programme and a lack of sponsorship meant he was a bad fit for the Swiss team, who he secured all five World Championship points for in 2017.
Wehrlein has since been linked with the final vacant seat at Williams but, with an announcement now imminent, Wehrlein is not in contention and will have to race in another series in 2018.
"Pascal deserves to be in Formula One," Wolff told Italy's Corriere dello Sport. "He's an excellent driver.
"He's not in an easy position because there are no seats open to him.
"It's a shame, because he has the potential to win and his performances on the track have been exceptional."
While Wolff praised Wehrlein's talents, he was reluctant to giving Wehrlein an opportunity at Mercedes in the near future as they need drivers that are finished articles.
Wolff said: "Our goal is to find the new Lewis Hamilton, which is not easy because he is at a very high level.
"Our strategy is to hire quick drivers who already have experience. Mercedes is not a place to learn.
"Those who arrive here must already be a complete driver."