Pascal Wehrlein: “It was a real good feeling to be on track”

Pascal Wehrlein finally made his Sauber testing debut on Tuesday - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Pascal Wehrlein made his first testing appearance of the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Tuesday after recovering from the back injury he suffered at the Race of Champions in Miami in January.

The German made his first track appearance for the Sauber F1 Team after his off-season switch from the now defunct Manor Racing MRT team, and completed 47 laps during the morning session in Spain, and felt it was a positive day behind the wheel.

“First of all I am very happy, to be back in the Sauber F1 Team as a race driver after my back problems,” said Wehrlein. “It was a real good feeling to be on track in the new car and getting back on the pace – and to get the first impression of the Sauber C36-Ferrari.

“During the session this morning it was just to get familiar with the procedures of the new car. Now I am looking forward to being back on track tomorrow.”

Wehrlein admitted that the issues with his back had put him behind schedule when it comes to his fitness, but there were no concerns and no pain after the test on Tuesday.

“I am feeling good. I am very happy about today,” said Wehrlein. “I jumped into the car and no pain, nothing. I was pretty happy by lunchtime – totally fine, no issues. I will be back tomorrow morning in the car and let’s go from there.

“Of course you feel tired. But I don’t have pain. It is two separate things. I think it is good that my back is not making any trouble, or is painful after a few laps. That is a positive about today.” 

Marcus Ericsson took over the car for the afternoon session, completing 53 laps of his own, and after updates were added to his car felt it was a different feel behind the wheel on Tuesday compared to what he had in the first test last week.

“I took over the car in the afternoon with some new aero parts, which made the car feel quite different compared to last week,” said Ericsson. “We also worked on the set-up preparation for the season opener in Melbourne.

“Overall it was an interesting day, but not the smoothest one. We have to do some work overnight to analyse all the data to make the car more driveable for us drivers tomorrow.”