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Injured Wehrlein forced to miss first test

17 Feb 2017

Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein will be forced to sit out the first pre-season test of 2017 due to the back injury he suffered at this year's Race of Champions.

The German had been set for his first outing with his new team when the test begins at Spain's Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 27, but has now confirmed he will be forced to watch from the sidelines on medical advice.

Wehrlein was injured after losing control of his car and flipping violently into the barriers while going head-to-head with Felipe Massa in the Race of Champions' Nations Cup event.

With teams often opting to split testing duties between drivers due to the amount of mileage accrued each day, Sauber are believed to be lining up 2016 GP2 champion Antonio Giovanizzi to stand in for Wehrlein during the first day.

Giovanazzi, who joined Ferrari as their third driver in December, enjoyed his first taste of F1 machinery during a recent test with the Scuderia at Fiorano in Italy.