Pascal Wehrlein has given some more detail on his perspective regarding Force India opting for Esteban Ocon’s services over his in 2017.
The Manor driver believes that the reason behind the decision is an easy fix, he said,
“I know the reasons why and it’s something easy to change. It had nothing to do with performance. In the test something happened, something they were not happy, and that’s it.
They think Esteban is fitting better into the team – that’s it. The decision had nothing to do with feedback or performance, but had something to do with how they were getting along with me, something on a personal side.
I cannot change it anymore and I can just learn from it and do better in the future.”
– Pascal Wehrlein
The reason may simply be an attitudinal one, as paddock insiders drew their own conclusions,
‘He has built up a reputation for being something of a prima donna who believes he’s already made it. Scarf blowing in the wind like Isadora Duncan, perfectly quaffed hair, he’s known in certain parts of the paddock as “Princess Pascal.”’
– Will Buxton
This aligns with SkySports commentator Crofty’s audible tutting at the Manor driver’s gold-leaf helmet debut at one of the races – Maybe Wehrlein would benefit more from a partnership with Lewis Hamilton, who would surely be quick to put things in perspective for the young German.
Either way, if a team favours well-behaved individuals over results, then Force India have probably made the right decision. If Wehrlein had been miles ahead of Ocon in the head-to-heads at Manor in 2016, this may be more scandalous, but the difference between them was fairly small.
Wehrlein remains in contention for the Mercedes vacancy but could also spend another year building his reputation back up at Manor.