Giovinazzi in for recovering Wehrlein for opening test

Antonio Giovinazzi steps in for Pascal Wehrlein in the first pre-season test - Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

After the news that Pascal Wehrlein would indeed miss the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the Sauber F1 Team have finally revealed that Scuderia Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi will participate in the test instead.

Wehrlein is still recovering from back problems suffered when he crashed heavily during the Race of Champions in Miami in January, and will be forced to delay his first opportunity to test Sauber’s new-for-2017 C36-Ferrari.

“It is a pity that I cannot be in the car during the first test days, but I will be in Barcelona in order to get familiar with the team’s procedures and also to follow the Sauber C36-Ferrari on track,” said Wehrlein, who hopes to be back in time for the second test the following week.

Wehrlein’s scheduled 2017 team-mate Marcus Ericsson will run for two days of the test, while Ferrari third driver Giovinazzi will have his first taste of 2017 machinery, having previously only run in two-year-old Ferrari’s at Fiorano.

“We took the decision that Pascal will not be driving in the first test in Barcelona,” said Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “We will monitor his medical progress and will then decide on the next steps.”