Sauber still aiming for Wehrlein to return in Bahrain

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sauber is still aiming for Pascal Wehrlein to return to action in the Bahrain Grand Prix, practice for which begins in one week’s time.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said it was only a question of fitness which was preventing his return.

“From a medical perspective he was declared fine to race when he had the test,” she explained. “The rest is a question of his fitness and the extent to which he wants to be able to deliver one hundred percent during an entire race.”

Chinese Grand Prix practice in pictures
“We’ve heard also now, from doctors and all, that it is very challenging for the drivers, we hear that from the drivers themselves. So he’s working flat out on his fitness.”

Predicting when he will be ready to return is “very difficult” said Kaltenborn “because the body is not that logical in its developments on what stage he’s going to be there”.

“But his target and our target is to have him as soon as possible in the car, ideally in the next race, but if not it will be the next one.”

“What’s clear is that he is our second driver and that’s not going to change.”

Wehrlein’s place had been taken by Antonio Giovinazzi for the second race in a row. Kaltenborn praised the Ferrari reserve drivers’ performance after making his debut at short notice.

“We were very impressed considering how quickly it happened,” she said. “When we came to Melbourne with Pascal there was no indication at all that we’d end up in this situation because Pascal, being a very ambitious driver, really wanted to drive.”

“But when he realised that he does have a responsibility to the rest if the team and if he’s not one hundred percent he really needs to say that.”

“We more or less overnight had to make this call. And then to see Antonio, who drove the first test in Barcelona for us but that’s not in any way comparable to how the car is now, he still came in and did a great session, a good race, no major issues or dramas, so we’re very impressed by him.”

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    11 comments on “Sauber still aiming for Wehrlein to return in Bahrain”

    1. So essentially he didnt train enough, due to injury and now is unfit for entire race distance? Not like that Sauber is that good.

      1. @jureo

        So essentially he didnt train enough, due to injury and now is unfit for entire race distance?

        Yes, that’d essentially be a sane person’s interpretation.

      2. Didn’t, or to be fair… couldn’t.

        1. Couldn’t or maybe was not even allowed…

          1. Which all means he wasn’t fit enough to withstand the high G forces imparted on his body.

            1. Sorry, I used the wrong tense in my sentence. I should have said “Which all means he wasn’t fit enough to withstand the high G forces involved.”

    2. I feel sorry for Giovinazzi. After Australia where he only got drafted in after he’d already missed FP1 and FP2.
      He was ready for China to have a full weekend, but aside of 4 laps in a wet FP1, he’s essentially missed FP1 and FP2 again!

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        7th April 2017, 16:28

        In fairness this time everyone is on the same boat, and Gio is the only driver with recent experience of getting up to speed in a single practice session.

      2. I don’t feel bad for giovannazzi at all… I see his role as a reserve driver, as proof that he’s a talented driver, even if his English isn’t perfect, and he might now have big dollar sponsorship.

        He has to be absolutely full of pride, knowing when princess gets trapped in another castle, Ferrari puts him in to handle the job at hand…

        I find myself really liking the guy… it’s obvious there is something going on behind the scenes with princess… I hope when he loses his seat giovanazzi gets it. That’d be a true racer story come true.

    3. Toto Wolff has confirmed he actually fractured a few neck vertebrae. So, there’s that.

    4. Wehrlien returns, Giovinazzi replace Marcus Ericsson.

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