Mercedes has finally confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets about its 2012 driver line-up, today announcing that Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robert Wickens and Formula 3 Euro Series champion Robert Merhi will join its eight-car entry list for the upcoming season.
The pair had several test outings with the carmaker during the pre-season in the wake of their respective championship titles.
Wickens, who has long been regarded as Canada’s best up-and-coming motorsport prospect, had tested for the Marussia F1 team at the end of last season, but he’d been able to secure a race or test driver role in Formula 1.
Wickens and Merhi will – along with incumbent DTM driver Christian Vietoris – form the basis of what Mercedes is calling its ‘Junior Team’, which will be mentored by seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, himself a graduate of the program.
“I’m excited to see how Christian, Roberto and Robert develop,” Schumacher is quoted as saying.
“They’re certainly going to have a great time. Mercedes-Benz places great importance on developing the next generation of drivers – and there are plenty of examples who demonstrate this.”
Wickens will partner Grand Prix veteran David Coulthard in the two-car Mucke Motorsport team, while Merhi will be Susie Wolff’s team-mate in the Persson Motorsport outfit.