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Pascal Wehrlein to start his F1 season for Sauber at the Bahrain Grand Prix

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Pascal Wehrlein to start his F1 season for Sauber at the Bahrain Grand Prix
Apr 12, 2017, 5:28 AM

After two false starts Pascal Wehrlein will return to Formula 1 action at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

After two false starts Pascal Wehrlein will return to Formula 1 action at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Wehrlein missed the first two races of the 2017 season as he did not feel his fitness levels were at the required level to complete a race distance after he sustained a back injury in a crash at the Race of Champions event in January that disrupted his winter training schedule.

The 22-year-old took part in the first two practice sessions at the Australian Grand Prix, before he was replaced for FP3, qualifying and the race by Ferrari reserve driver, Antonio Giovinazzi.

https://twitter.com/SauberF1Team/status/851812768219115521

Sauber confirmed on Twitter today that Wehrlein would return to the cockpit of his C36 at this weekend’s event at the Sakhir International Circuit.

Giovinazzi finished 12th in the race in Melbourne – a result that means Sauber is in ninth place and currently above McLaren in the constructors’ championship – but had a difficult weekend in China.

The Italian driver crashed in qualifying after running wide onto the kerbs and artificial turf at the exit of the Shanghai circuit’s final corner and then had an even larger impact at a similar spot during the race, which caused him to retire on lap four.

“First of all, I want to apologise again to the team,” Giovinazzi said after the race in China. “They did a great job to get the car ready for the race. It was a shame that I crashed again today. A learning lesson – I just want to forget this weekend quickly.”

Antonio Giovinazzi

Although Sauber’s announcement confirms that Wehrlein will drive in Bahrain – he had previously stated that he could wait until the Russian Grand Prix on 30 April before making his return – it does not confirm if he will take part in the race.

Driver fitness is a hot topic in F1 this year as the new cars are much more physically demanding to drive as they are up to 40km/h faster through high speed corners and that puts significantly higher G-forces on the racers.

After there was much speculation about Wehrlein’s absence from the opening two rounds of the season, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn denied there was anything more to the story.

Pascal Wehrlein

Speaking ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, She said: "The facts are – and it's really the way it is – he had this accident in America, and most of us saw the pictures.

"You see it's quite an impact, particularly his back suffered there. There was a lot of load on the back. These kinds of things you have to take seriously. Since that accident he got very clear medical instructions, under which he could not do very much training.

"It surprised us he actually got medical approval to be able to be in the car again that quickly, and the doctors also told us it's the result of having such a fit condition. We put him in the car step-by-step, never a whole day [testing] but half-days. But we all know there's something he's missed out, which he [had] to catch up."

What do you make of the news that Wehrlein will return to action at the Bahrain Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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Series Formula 1
Teams Sauber
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