F1 outcast Pascal Wehrlein returns to DTM for 2018

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Pascal Wehrlein will return to German touring car series DTM in 2018 after missing out on a Formula One seat.

Wehrlein spent his two F1 seasons with backmarking teams -- Manor in 2016 and Sauber in 2017, scoring the only points of either team's respective campaigns. Despite an impressive season with Sauber he was replaced by Formula 2 champion and Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc, who will partner Marcus Ericsson for the coming season.

Leclerc's elevation, and Williams' decision to sign Sergey Sirotkin for 2018, left the Mercedes junior without a drive.

Mercedes' DTM team confirmed the 2015 series champion's return on Wednesday.

"I have fantastic memories with DTM, not least because of my title win in 2015, but also because of the strong team spirit and the many nice experiences with the guys," Wehrlein said. "I have followed DTM closely during my time in Formula One and have been to some races to visit and support the team.

"Things have changed a lot in DTM since my last race at the season finale at Hockenheim 2015. But I like challenges and I cannot wait to get on track for the first time with our new car. The first tests cannot be here soon enough."

Wehrlein was once considered the future of Mercedes' F1 programme and was briefly considered as the man to replace Nico Rosberg after his shock retirement at the end of 2016. However, his relative lack of F1 experience counted against him on that occasion.

In the year since, his former Manor teammate and fellow Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon has seen his stock rise considerably with an incredibly impressive 2017 campaign at Force India -- the team picked Ocon instead of Wehrlein for that race seat.