Antonio Giovinazzi will again race for Sauber at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix while Pascal Wehrlein continues to regain fitness after withdrawing from the season-opener in Australia.

Wehrlein sustained a back injury at the Race of Champions in January when he lost control of his three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot machine, hitting the barriers and flipping the car. He emerged from the crash shaken and withdrew from the remainder of the event on doctor’s orders.

After missing the first pre-season test at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the German did drive in the second test and was subsequently declared fit to drive in Australia by the FIA medical team.

The 22-year-old then pulled out of last month’s Australian Grand Prix following Friday’s second practice session, concerned his fitness level wasn’t high enough to go the race distance.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber Ferrari C36 - 2017 Australian Grand Prix

Giovinazzi substituted for Wehrlein at the Australian Grand Prix, finishing twelfth on his Grand Prix debut.

With back-to-back races in China this weekend and Bahrain next, Wehrlein admits he may not return until the Russian Grand Prix at the end of the month.

“For me the most important is that I can train intensively to ensure a 100% performance from my side as soon as possible,” he explained.

“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.”

Italian Giovinazzi, 23, finished twelfth in Melbourne in his Formula 1 race debut, following just two days in the Ferrari-powered C36 during pre-season testing.

Images via LAT and XPB Images

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Elle Haus

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Seasoned media and communications professional. Tropical traveller. Cocktail connoisseur.