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Kaltenborn disputes Wehrlein injury reports

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Monisha Kaltenborn has taken issue with fellow F1 boss Toto Wolff’s description of Pascal Wehrlein’s injury.

German Wehrlein drives for Sauber, but he remains managed by Wolff’s Mercedes development programme.

So while the 22-year-old regains his fitness following a winter back injury, a frenzy of speculation surrounds exactly what is behind Wehrlein’s layoff.

“I got tired of it because of all the conspiracy theories,” Wolff said in Shanghai.

His latest comments follow his revelation in the German press that Wehrlein in fact suffered a compression fracture in his Miami race of champions crash.

“I was hearing (conspiracy theories) that Ferrari wants Giovinazzi in the team because of the engine in the car, and that Wehrlein is a princess because he doesn’t want to sit in the car. It’s not true.

“It was simply a serious injury that we did not want to push into the public, but I found it was time to say something so that people will finally give Pascal the necessary time.”

But Sauber chief Monisha Kaltenborn says Wolff was wrong to have described the injury as essentially a broken back.

“What Toto said exactly I don’t know,” she told Bild newspaper, “but I cannot imagine that it was properly reproduced because it was not correct.”

She says the fracture Wolff spoke about was simply “quite normal” micro-fractures in the thoracic vertebrae.

“This does not have to be dramatised, but it is not as trivial as before,” said Kaltenborn.

She said Wehrlein will definitely be back in the car soon.

“Everything is now fine medically, which doctors have confirmed. So it is only a matter of time,” she said.

Finally, it seems clear that the days of Mercedes or Sauber drivers taking part in the race of champions event in the future are definitely over.

Wolff said: “You have to keep your drivers happy, and others go snowmobiling or go skiing. You cannot forbid everything.

“But in retrospect you are always smarter.”

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