Sauber reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi will once again replace Pascal Wehrlein for the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix.
It looks like German Formula one driver and former Manor racing driver Pascal Wehrlein will once again sit out the Chinese Grand Prix as his back continues to heal. According to Sauber F1 in their official race report in preparation for the Chinese Grand Prix they dropped earlier today (Apr. 3, 2017) Sauber F1 will once again defer to its reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi who stepped in for Pascal during the season opener in Australia two weekends ago. Despite criticism from the media and fans of the German driver, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn still thinks Pascal is making the right decision to let things heal and we happen to agree with Kaltenborn.
Even though Pascal’s crash was just last February, people tend to forget how violent the crash was. During the Race of Champions in Miami Pascal suffered a rollover while going full speed neck and neck with Felipe Massa in the other lane. With .0014 seconds separating the two, Pascal was trying his best to one up the veteran driver.
According to Pascal,
“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.”
Furthermore, the decision to put Antionio Giovinazzi into Pascal’s place was hastily decided after two session of free practice giving Giovinazzi just one practice session before being put into qualifying and the race. Surprisingly Giovinazzi pulled off a stellar performance as a reserve driver and held his own throughout the race to the applause of Kaltenborn.
Unsurprisingly Giovinazzi’s performance was the definition of what a reserve driver is supposed to do, jump in when they’re needed. It’s unfortunate for Pascal to have to sit out on the bench while he watches his teammates qualify and race without him but this is the hand that he was dealt.
If anything, we should expect Giovinazzi to pull off a herculean effort to showcase just how good of a driver he is. Who can forget such performances of reserve drivers like Kamui Kobayashi when he made his Formula 1 debut back in 2009 replacing Timo Glock due to a cracked vertebra. Kobayahi finished in the points in ninth place in that race.