Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein has all but been confirmed to race for Manor F1 in 2016, with an official announcement from the team expected later this evening.

German media reported earlier today that a deal had been secured between the two parties, which would see Wehrlein make his Formula 1 debut next month in Melbourne.

“It has been a dream for me to become a F1 driver since my very first visit at a grand prix at the age of six,” Wehrlein told Autobild. “Now this dream has come true.”

The German competed in the Deutshe Tourenwagen Masters in 2015, winning the championship in his first full season with the series, having completed half a season in 2013 as well as 2014.

It was only in December that doubts clouded the youngster’s chance for a seat with Manor, as the team bumped up the price required for a full time drive, a price that Mercedes were unwilling to pay. Although it seems a big push by Mercedes, Manor’s engine supplier, has won the team over.

Wehrlein’s move to Manor now opens up free space in Mercedes’ DTM program, which is expected to be filled by their development driver and 2015 GP3 champion Esteban Ocon.

Manor now hold the only vacant seat left in the field, which is believed to be between last year’s line-up of Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens, as well as GP2 race winner Rio Haryanto who would bring a large sum of sponsorship money from the Indonesian government.

Image via ITR eV

George Hitchens Photography

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Josh Kruse

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