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    NEWS: Challenge Accepted - Mercedes-Benz Juniors Tackle 2018 New cars, new challenges, n...

New cars, new challenges, new goals... it looks set to be a busy and exciting 2018 for the Mercedes-Benz Junior Drivers. Let's take a look at what they'll be up to this year!

Pascal Wehrlein

Following two seasons racing in Formula One, Pascal is returning to DTM in 2018 for Mercedes-Benz's final year in the series and will be behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM.

The German driver joined the DTM series in 2013, becoming its youngest race winner in 2014 and youngest Champion in 2015 - before he moved to F1 with Manor in 2016 and Sauber in 2017.

The Mercedes Junior makes his return to DTM this season, becoming the third Champion in the manufacturer's driver line-up.

"I've got some terrific memories of the DTM, not least became of my title in 2015, but also because of the strong team spirit and the many amazing experiences I've had with the guys," Pascal says on his switch to DTM.

"I've followed the DTM closely during my time in Formula One and have even been to a couple of races to see the team and support them. A lot has changed in the DTM since my last race back in 2015, but I like a challenge and can hardly wait to try out our new car."

Esteban Ocon

Esteban made quite an impact during his first full F1 season in 2017. Having spent the second half of the previous year racing for backmarkers Manor, he stepped up to Force India last year and gave experienced team-mate Sergio Pérez a run for his money.

The two drivers were evenly matched and produced some intense battles, although a few got a little too close for comfort. In Austin, Esteban broke the record for most consecutive race finishes since debuting in F1 and scored points in 18 of the 20 races.

The Frenchman finished just 13 points behind Pérez in the final 2017 standings, taking eighth place, and now heads into his second full campaign with Force India this year. It's a battle Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team Principal Toto Wolff is looking forward to seeing.

"Force India has been punching above their weight class," he said, looking ahead to 2018. "You can expect more with Checo (Pérez) and Esteban being on fire, proving who is the quicker guy."

George Russell

The 2017 GP3 Champion is moving up to FIA Formula 2 for the up-coming season. George stormed to the GP3 title after taking four victories and three further podiums over the course of last year.

It was a big season for George, as he also got his first experience  driving a Mercedes F1 car, getting behind the wheel of the W08 at the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test. He also made FP1 outings with Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Following on from his success in 2017, George is making the step up to F2 for this season, remaining with ART Grand Prix - the team he took the GP3 title with.

"I am very happy to be able to race in Formula 2 while continuing to drive for ART Grand Prix," George said. "We had a very successful year together last season and so it makes sense to continue working together and seek out new successes.

"With the introduction of a new Formula 2 car, it will be challenging for all the teams to optimise the set-up from the start of the season, but I have every confidence in ART. I cannot wait to take part in the first race and fight against some of the best drivers and teams at the pinnacle of junior motorsport."

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