Sauber F1 Team has announced that Pascal Wehrlein will be returning to action this weekend in Bahrain. It will be his first race of the season after missing the first two through an injury sustained at the Race of Champions in January.
Despite taking to the track in Melbourne for Friday practice, Wehrlein pulled out of the remainder of the weekend after doubting his level of fitness. The German felt that the weeks of fitness preparations he had been forced to miss out on had left him unprepared for this year’s extra-strenuous cars.
He was also absent for the first week of testing in Barcelona.
Antonio Giovinazzi, reserve driver at Scuderia Ferrari, stepped in for the stricken driver during the testing week and the two races. And he impressed on his first weekend outing, finishing a respectable twelfth in Melbourne. Unfortunately Shanghai wasn’t as kind on the Italian with Giovinazzi suffering crashes in qualifying and during the race.
But Sauber confirmed on Tuesday that Wehrlein will be back in the C36-Ferrari this weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix, no doubt hoping for something of a fairytale return.
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn also revealed the extent of his injuries, explaining that Wehrlein had suffered micro-fractures following the accident. Her comments follow days of rumours and theories attempting to explain his lengthy absence.
“Pascal had his accident in Miami and he suffered compression on his back,” she said. “The injuries he had were micro fractures which are very normal with this type of compression.
“He was released from hospital and was declared fit to race but his training has been affected.”
— Sauber F1 Team (@SauberF1Team) April 11, 2017