Giovinazzi to drive in place of injured Wehrlein

Antonio Giovinazzi will continue to drive for Sauber at the Chinese GP after Pascal Wehrlein was ruled out through fitness issues.

The Italian was a late replacement for Wehrlein at the season-opening Australian GP but impressed on his F1 debut, qualifying 16th and finishing 12th.

Wehrlein suffered a back injury at January’s Race of Champions and the resulting “training deficit” has left the German feeling unable to complete a full race distance.

Wehrlein withdrew in Australia following Friday’s practice sessions, leaving Giovinazzi – last year’s GP2 runner-up – just an hour in the car to prepare for the weekend.

Giovinazzi is also the Ferrari third driver.

Wehrlein now hopes to return at either next week’s Bahrain GP or the Russian GP on April 28-30.

He said: “For me the most important is that I can train intensively to ensure a 100% 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.”

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