Antonio Giovinazzi to Stand in for Pascal Wehrlein for Chinese Grand Prix

Following the news that Antonio Giovinazzi will stand in again for Pascal Wehrlein at this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, Chris Soulsby looks at the fitness of Wehrlein and how events took place to allow Giovinazzi to have his F1 debut.


After being unable to compete in the Australian Grand Prix, Pascal Wehrlein is set to miss the second race of the 2017 Formula 1 Season in China, and will be replaced for the second race in a row by Ferrari’s third driver, Antonio Giovinazzi.

Antonio Giovinazzi to Stand in for Pascal Wehrlein for Chinese Grand Prix

March’s Australian Grand Prix saw Giovinazzi make a surprise Formula 1 debut, with Pascal Wehrlein deeming himself unfit to race due injuries that he sustained in an accident at the Race of Champions earlier in 2017.

Wehrlein’s accident can be watched here: [youtube][/youtube]

Through the crash, Wehrlein picked up a back injury, which in turn disrupted his training schedule ahead of the 2017 season. Wehrlein missed the first pre-season test in Barcelona where Giovinazzi stood in for testing duties, however, Wehrlein was able to take part in the second test.

On the weekend of the Australian Grand Prix however, Wehrlein decided to step aside, feeling that he would not be able compete at the best of his abilities due to him not being physically fit, thus paving the way for Giovinazzi to make his F1 debut.

On his debut, the young Italian impressed many in the paddock, qualifying one place behind his team mate, Marcus Ericsson, and almost making it into the second qualifying session. In the race, Giovinazzi also impressed, finishing in 12th place, although this was aided through the retirements of a number of drivers that started the race ahead of him.

With Wehrlein currently being unable to compete, Giovinazzi has been given a very good opportunity to show the talent that he has, being paired with the relatively experienced Ericsson. With the GP2 runner-up being able to build himself ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and not being drafted in at short notice, it will be intriguing to see how Giovinazzi performs in the car.

In a team preview released by Sauber on Monday, Wehrlein said: “For me the most important is that I can train intensively to ensure a 100 percent performance from my side as soon as possible. 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“, suggesting that the young German may also miss the Bahrain Grand Prix if he is not back up to adequate fitness levels.
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