Wehrlein continues absence in China, Giovinazzi deputises again

Antonio Giovinazzi will continue to deputise for Pascal Wehrlein in China - Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

Pascal Wehrlein will sit out this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix as he continues his fitness drive following his heavy crash during the Race of Champions back in January, with Antonio Giovinazzi continuing in his place.

Wehrlein suffered a back injury during the Race of Champions in Miami, and although he participated in pre-season testing and in the first two practice sessions in Australia, the German still does not feel ready to race, and is now aiming for either the Bahrain or Russian Grand Prix to make his first race start for the Sauber F1 Team.

“For me the most important is that I can train intensively to ensure a 100% performance from my side as soon as possible,” said Wehrlein. “I will then be well-prepared for my first complete Grand Prix weekend for the Sauber F1 Team.

“Hopefully this can be in Bahrain but, if not, then we will take the time it needs until Russia to make sure I am completely ready.”

Giovinazzi stepped into the drive on Saturday morning in Australia and almost made it through to the second phase of qualifying despite very little running, and will get the full weekend this time around to make his mark. The Italian put in a good race performance as well, finishing twelfth, although he took it easy during the race in order to bring the car home.