2015 DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein is strongly rumoured to be returning to the series following Maro Engel’s exit from the series.

Wehrlein, who has been linked with a return to DTM since he lost his Sauber Formula 1 seat to Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc, won the championship in 2015 with Mercedes.

The German manufacturer is exiting the series to focus on Formula E, but not before aiming to add to its 16 titles that it has won this decade, in its final season in 2018.

Engel will depart the team to focus on his Formula E duties with Venturi and he will continue with Mercedes in GT racing.

This year sees DTM and Formula E clash on two occasions, including Formula E’s season finale double-header in New York.

“It’s a pity that the Formula E and the DTM racing calendars overlap to some extent this season,” said Engel.

“Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution, because I would love to be lining up again in the DTM, especially as it’s Mercedes-AMG’s final year in the series.

“With an eye to the future, though, we decided that I would concentrate fully on Formula E and GT racing in 2018.”

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Engel made his DTM debut back in 2008, spending three further years, but only managing to score 16 points in those four years.

He returned for a fifth campaign in 2017, finishing 15th in the drivers’ championship, but picking up a debut win in Moscow.

“I still had a small score to settle after my first stint in the DTM, which I was able to put right last year by taking my maiden win in Moscow,” he said.

“I’m very grateful to the team for making that possible. Thank you very much to the entire team for a fantastic time.

“I intend to be at some of the team’s races and hope they can bring the title back to Stuttgart and Affalterbach in their swansong year.”

Engel’s departure, coupled with Robert Wickens’ IndyCar switch, leaves two spots in Mercedes’ 2018 DTM squad.

Wehrlein appears to be all-but confirmed for one of those seats, with Daniel Juncadella and Maximilian Gunther among the candidates for the second vacant seat.

Edoardo Mortara, Engel’s Formula E team-mate, is expected to remain with the team despite the clashes.