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Following his severe injury three months ago at the off-season Race of Champions in Miami, Florida, Pascal Wehrlein missed his late pre-season preparation for the upcoming first race in Australia. The Sauber driver's back troubles kept lingering following his accident, and just before the opening race two weeks ago in Melbourne, Australia, decided that the heavy G-forced new entries for this season were too much for him, and decided that he would skip the race.

Now, with days before the second round of the season in China, Wehrlein has decided once again that his condition had not improved and will miss the race in Shanghai as well, and will take another three weeks off to recover before he possibly climbs back into his car April 30th in Sochi, Russia.

"For me the most important is that I can train intensively to ensure a 100% performance from my side as soon as possible," he said to ESPN F1. "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."

Besides being a full-time Sauber driver, Wehrlein is also a test driver for the defending driver and constructor's champions, AMG Mercedes. The German was a favorite to replace outgoing and retired champion Nico Rosberg following his decent performance in the Manor last season. But Wehrlein himself was overlooked in favor of Finnish pilot Valterri Bottas. Nevertheless, Wehrlein remains a test and third driver for the team, and Mercedes manager Toto Wolff was impressed in the way the junior driver has handled himself.

"I feel for Pascal, because he has had all the bad luck." Wolff stated. "I'm impressed with the maturity he has shown to inform Sauber that he wouldn't be able to perform at the level required in Melbourne. That took courage and selflessness, which I know earned him a lot of credit within the team. "Now, he needs to build up his fitness and come back strong. I have no doubt that when he's back in the car, he'll prove he's still the same Pascal."

Wehrlein has been replaced by Italian and Ferrari tester Antonio Giovinazzi, who impressed the Swiss team in the last round by finishing 12th in Melbourne, considering that he was called at the last minute to replace Wehrlein. Giovinazzi had never driven a competitive racecar in a grand prix event. The Italian will now have two, perhaps three opportunities to show that he could have a future position in any Formula One team.

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