Italian Antonio Giovinazzi will continue in Sauber F1 Team’s second car for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and possibly the Bahrain Grand Prix next week as well, as Pascal Wehrlein remains sidelined while he tries to get his physicality back in shape.
The team release said: “Pascal Wehrlein will again be replaced by Antonio Giovinazzi to ensure that the German will be back in the cockpit of the Sauber C36-Ferrari, in best physical shape, at the earliest possible opportunity – either the Bahrain Grand Prix or the Russian Grand Prix.”
Giovinazzi was called up to action on the Friday night of the Australian Grand Prix weekend after Wehrlein determined his fitness wasn’t on par to complete a full race distance at Albert Park. However, Giovinazzi didn’t actually see the team’s text to him until Saturday morning. He made his race weekend debut in FP3 and progressed quickly with learning the track and nearly outqualifying teammate Marcus Ericsson.
In the race, he brought the car home to a 12th place finish.
Today’s confirmation for China and with the short turnaround time to Bahrain will ensure Sauber has a plan either way.
“For me the most important is that I can train intensively to ensure a 100 percent performance from my side as soon as possible,” Wehrlein said in the team’s advance.
“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.”
Interestingly, this news came after Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Toto Wolff said he was impressed by Wehrlein’s maturity to rule himself out of action for Melbourne.
Coverage of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app online begins Thursday night.