Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein will skip the opening test of the 2017 season due to a back injury sustained at the Race of Champions last month.
Following medical checks this month, Wehrlein has been advised not to take part in the upcoming four-day test, which starts on February 27. He took to Twitter to announce the news, making clear that it was his back and not his neck that was injured in the accident.
I have to skip the first wintertest due to medical advice because of a BACK issue. I feel sorry for the team but we'll come back stronger!
— Pascal Wehrlein (@PWehrlein) February 17, 2017
Wehrlein was racing fellow Formula One driver Felipe Massa in a head-to-head at the Race of Champions when the two collided and his car was pitched into a roll over a temporary barrier. He walked away from the incident but withdrew from the rest of the event.
Sauber is likely draft a replacement driver in to share the first week of testing with Wehrlein's teammate Marcus Ericsson. 2016 GP2 runner up and Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi has been tipped to receive the call up.