KEY POINTS

  • Ferrari retains former Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein as simulator driver
  • Ferrari is building a new simulator in Maranello
  • McLaren and Renault are also investing in their racing departments 

Former Sauber F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein is going to remain with Ferrari for the coming year as a development driver considering the Italian team will continue investing in their new simulator.

Wehrlein joined Ferrari in a development capacity ahead of the past season, and Ferrari announced they would continue with a multi-year agreement.

There will be reduced testing time in 2020, so the simulator retains a pivotal role in the research and development for the F1 teams. 

That is why Ferrari wants to continue investing in its infrastructure with Wehrlein staying for a second year.

He formerly drove for Manor Racing and Sauber during his F1 career in 2016 and 2017 but found himself without a drive in 2018.

Unfortunately, he was not retained by the Mercedes driving program, and Wehrlein switched to Formula E after finding a drive with Mahindra.

He also signed a contract with Ferrari in the capacity of development driver for their simulator platform at Maranello.

The simulator has proven to be significant these days, particularly because of the reduced testing time for teams. F1 now allows six days of pre-season testing for the 2020 season, whereas they provided eight days in the past seasons.

Last year, four drivers worked on the simulator for Ferrari, including Brandon Hartley, Davide Rigon Antonio Fuoco, and Wehrlein. The team is likely to keep the four for this year as well.

The team boss, Mattia Binotto, showed confirmed his confidence in the simulator squad, saying they are experienced and very integrated with the team.

He also mentioned keeping Wehrlein and expressed enthusiasm in the simulator driver’s ability to assist the team.

Ferrari has also stated they are working on a new and improved simulator for their Maranello base. Louis Camilleri explained that good financial health on the road car side of the business is allowing for budget allowances for Formula 1.

Binotto added that Ferrari is prepared to invest, and luckily their road car department can support the investments not only in terms of people but also when it comes to infrastructure. In so doing, he mentioned the new simulator they are making.

Ferrari is not the only team that is making preparations for the 2020 season and the changes to come in the next season after that.

McLaren is also making improvements to their simulator and constructing a new wind tunnel.