Photo: Sauber F1 Team

Giovinazzi to Substitute for Wehrlein in Chinese GP

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Antonio Giovinazzi is set to continue his duties with the Sauber F1 Team as Pascal Wehrlein’s replacement for the Chinese Grand Prix, with a possibility of the Bahrain Grand Prix as well.

The team said the following: “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.”

Wehrlein participated in the opening day of practice in Australia, but concerns over his fitness had the team turn to Giovinazzi for the remainder of the weekends.

Giovinazzi, a Ferrari reserve driver, took to his official Formula 1 debut by nearly advancing the Sauber C36 to Q2 during qualifying. For his part during the race, the Italian steered clear of any issues and drove home to a sensational 12th.

With Sauber set for back-to-back weekends in China and Bahrain, they are set with a plan moving forward.

Wehrlein continues to focus on his training, suggesting that the aim is to be ready as soon as possible for the team, but that may not be for another two races when F1 heads to Russia.

“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 via a team release.

“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.”

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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.