Sauber's Kaltenborn rubbishes Wehrlein insinuations

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Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn has lashed out against stories alleging that reasons beyond fitness issues are keeping Pascal Wehrlein from driving.

The German pulled out of the Australian Grand Prix after judging that his fitness level was not up to driving a new-spec F1 car around Albert Park for 56 laps.

Wehrlein's carsh at the ROC in Miami earlier this set was a set-back to his preparation and led to limited mileage with Sauber's new C36 in pre-season testing at Barcelona.

Kaltenborn insists the only issue affecting her driver is one centered around his fitness, with all other speculation just fantasy.

"I have to disappoint you there, the story is actually very straightforward and it might just not be good enough for some people to sell it better," Kaltenborn told Autosport when questioned about the skepticism expressed by pundits over Wehrlein's inability to race.

"The facts are - and it's really the way it is - he had this accident in America, and most of us saw the pictures.

"You see it's quite an impact, particularly his back suffered there. There was a lot of load on the back. These kinds of things you have to take seriously.

"Since that accident he got very clear medical instructions, under which he could not do very much training.

"It surprised us he actually got medical approval to be able to be in the car again that quickly, and the doctors also told us it's the result of having such a fit condition.

"We put him in the car step-by-step, never a whole day [of testing] but half-days. But we all know there's something he's missed out, which he has to catch up."

Wehrlein has stayed back in Europe in order to focus on his training. A decision about racing in Bahrain next week will be made in the coming days, with Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi remaining at Sauber's disposal.

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