Wolff expects Wehrlein back for Bahrain


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expects junior driver Pascal Wehrlein to return from injury for Sauber at next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Wehrlein missed the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with a back problem sustained in a nasty crash at January's Race of Champions, with Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi stepping in.

Giovinazzi will be in the car once again in China this weekend, but Wolff is confident a return is not far away for former Manor driver Wehrlein.

"It was a wise decision [to pull out of the Australian GP], which he had discussed with [Sauber team principal] Monisha [Kaltenborn] and myself before," Wolff told RTL.

"We accepted and respected this decision.

"At the beginning of this week we had the same discussion once again. We could have forced Pascal to be [involved].

"He would have raced, he would have suffered the jet lag and he would have moved on to Bahrain. However, this wouldn't have been an ideal preparation.

"So we decided to give him 10 days of proper training instead to return him to the shape he needs to properly drive this car.

"Then he will come back in full force in Bahrain."