Photo: Sauber F1 Team

BREAKING: Wehrlein Out, Giovinazzi to Make F1 Debut in Australian GP

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Pascal Wehrlein has been ruled out for the remainder of the weekend for the Australian Grand Prix following concerns in Friday’s two practice sessions.

The 22-year-old German was injured in a crash during the Race of Champions event in Miami in January, which forced him to miss part of preseason testing in Barcelona.

The 2015 DTM champion, Wehrlein took himself out of the car for the remainder of the weekend due to concerns over his fitness level.

“My fitness level is not as it should be for a full race distance because of my training deficit,” said Wehrlein. “I explained the situation to the team yesterday evening.

“Therefore, the Sauber F1 Team has decided not to take any risks. It is a pity, but the best decision for the team.”

Despite the setback, Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn was appreciative of Wehrlein’s “openness” and still expects to be ready for the next round in China.

“We have great respect of Pascal’s openness and professionalism. This decision was definitely not an easy one for him, it underlines his qualities as a team player. The focus is now on his fitness level, and in such a situation we do not take any unnecessary risks. Pascal will be in China as planned.”

The Sauber F1 Team has elected to go with Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi has his replacement for the weekend. The 23-year-old Italian, who subbed for Wehrlein in the opening week of preseason testing, will make his official Grand Prix debut this weekend.

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.