Wehrlein joins Sauber as Bottas' Mercedes move nears

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Sauber have announced Pascal Wehrlein will drive for them in the 2017 Formula One season as Valtteri Bottas' seemingly imminent switch to Mercedes nears.

Wehrlein, contracted to Mercedes as a test driver, had been talked up as a potential replacement for world champion Nico Rosberg, who stunningly retired after beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the title.

However, Williams deputy principal Claire Williams confirmed on Sunday that Bottas is set to leave their team for Mercedes.

Despite missing out on that seat, Wehrlein - who earned his first career F1 point with Manor in 2016 - will have a drive this year, Sauber selecting him to be Marcus Ericsson's team-mate.

"I am very delighted at being a part of the Sauber F1 Team for the upcoming Formula One Season. It is a new challenge in a new team, and I am really excited and looking forward to this new adventure," Wehrlein said.

"Our objective is to establish ourselves in the mid-field and to score points on a regular basis. That being said, I will do my best to support Sauber.

"Now I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the team and to tackling the preparations for the 2017 season. I want to say a big thank you to Sauber for trusting in me and giving me this great chance. And surely, a huge thanks also goes to Mercedes for the support."

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn added: "We are very pleased to confirm Pascal Wehrlein as our second race driver for the 2017 Formula One World Championship.

"Pascal has shown his talent throughout his career - in single-seater racing as well as in the DTM. Last year in his rookie Formula One season, he proved his potential by scoring one point in the Austrian GP in Spielberg.

"There is surely more to come from Pascal, and we want to give him the chance to further grow and learn at the pinnacle of motorsport. I am confident Marcus and Pascal will form a solid combination for 2017."