F1: Injured Wehrlein to miss first pre-season test

 17 Feb 2017 - 23:00


London: Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein will miss Formula One's opening pre-season test in Barcelona at the end of February due to a lingering back problem, the German said yesterday.
"I have to skip the first winter test due to medical advice because of a BACK issue. I feel sorry for the team but we'll come back stronger," the 22-year-old said on Twitter.
There was no immediate comment from the Swiss-based team.
Wehrlein was injured at the Race of Champions in Miami last month when he crashed a three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot machine while racing Brazilian Felipe Massa on the opening day of competition.
The machines came together with Wehrlein, who raced for now-defunct Manor in Formula One last season and was also the reserve for world champions Mercedes, flipping his over the barriers.
The German and his passenger walked away from the crash but the driver withdrew from the rest of that event on medical advice.
Ferrari-powered Sauber are due to present their new car online on Monday, a week before testing starts at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
Reports in Italy indicated that Ferrari's Italian third driver Antonio Giovinazzi would step in for the German at the test alongside Sweden's Marcus Ericsson.
Meanwhile, Liberty Media wants to steer Formula One towards a "better place" but there are no quick fixes for the sport's evident problems, newly-appointed motorsport head Ross Brawn has said ahead of talks with teams.
"There are some straightforward issues that we recognise, but the solutions are going to take some time," the former Honda, Brawn GP and Mercedes team principal, who was Ferrari technical director before that, told BBC radio.
The 62-year-old Briton, appointed as managing director for motorsport after Liberty's Formula One takeover last month, said the teams, governing FIA and commercial rights holder all had their own priorities.
"The commercial rights holder...is going to also focus on making the show as good as it can be and the entertainment and the sport as good as it can be," said Brawn, who will attend the first pre-season test in Barcelona at the end of the month.
"Every decision that's going to be made in the future...all have to tick some boxes and those boxes will be 'does it make the sport better? Does it make it more entertaining? Does it make it more economic?'."
Brawn said he was confident the sport would be steered in the right direction ultimately. Liberty Media says it wants better marketing and digital growth identified as clear priorities along with expansion in the Americas.
The 10 teams, FIA and commercial rights holders are locked into contractual agreements that govern the distribution of revenues, and grant special payments to some of the biggest teams like Ferrari and Mercedes, until 2020.