Pascal Wehrlein

Wehrlein: I hope to be back in Bahrain

Pascal Wehrlein

The saga of Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein and the injury he suffered due to a spectacular crash during the Race of Champion in Miami in January, continues to simmer while the German is targeting a return to action in Bahrain.

Wehrelein said, “The problem is that Formula 1 is not like football. After an injury, you can’t build yourself back up slowly in a Formula 1 car.”

“The most important thing for me is that I can now train very hard to get my performance back to 100 percent so I am well prepared for my first full weekend with Sauber.

“I hope that this will be in Bahrain, but at the latest I should again be in top physical condition for Russia,” he added.

Wehrlein is absent from China and inevitably speculation has emerged that there may be ulterior motives to the saga which are keeping him out of the Sauber, who are Ferrari engine customers.

Indeed Wehrlein’s substitute is Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi.

But Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, who is responsible for Wehrlein’s rise through the ranks told Bild, “Of course you could see this as a political struggle.

“But the truth is that we have a good relationship with Ferrari and we would never jeopardise it over our junior drivers. It’s a great for Antonio Giovinazzi to get a chance and of course Pascal will be back,” Wolff added.

Sauber chief Monisha Kaltenborn told Auto Bild, “He is training hard now to make his debut race for us in Bahrain or Sochi. It’s only about training and nothing else.

“Critics should be quiet rather than instigate wild speculation. His spine was extremely compressed in Miami so the doctors initially gave him an absolute training ban. He is now taking the time he needs,” she added.

Meanwhile Giovinazzi, who gave a good account of himself during his last minute Australian Grand Prix debut, crashed out spectacularly in Q2 and is likely to start from the abck of the grid as the Sauber needs a big rebuild.