2017 F1

Sauber to confirm Wehrlein out for first pre-season

Sauber is set to confirm that Pascal Wehrlein will sit out the start of official pre-season testing in a little over a week.

With Mercedes’ backing, the 22-year-old German has switched from Manor to Switzerland-based Sauber for 2017.

But he injured his neck or back in a scary rollover crash during January’s Race of Champions event in Miami, with Blick newspaper announcing on Thursday that he is still yet to get the green-light by doctors.

So with the first of just two four-day tests in Barcelona now looming, Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi reportedly had a seat fitting at Sauber’s Hinwil factory this week.

And news that Italian Giovinazzi – the 23-year-old GP2 runner-up – will definitely replace Wehrlein at the first test is now being reported by Italy’s prestigious La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Only official confirmation is pending,” the newspaper said, “but the rumour has been confirmed.

“The third Ferrari driver will be on track in two of the four days of the first test at the circuit near Barcelona.”

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