'Wehrlein no junior driver', says Kaltenborn


Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn gets a little testy when one suggests that  the Swiss outfit has hired a 'junior' driver with Pascal Wehrlein.

While the 22-year-old, who ran his forst F1 season with Manor in 2016, remains a spring chicken still in development under the wings of Mercedes, the Sauber boss denied claims that Hinwill had signed up a junior racer.

"If we had signed a junior, we would give him a bobby (toy) car rather than a Formula 1 car," Kaltenborn  told Germany's Auto Bild.

"Pascal has proved his talents in his career so far, including F1, and he will certainly be able to celebrate further career highlights in the future."

Wehrlein's physical condition  is currently under medical review following a neck injury sustained two weeks ago at the Race of Champions event in Miami.

His participation in the pre-season test at Barcelona which kicks off on February 27 may be called into question, although Sauber  have yet to provide an update on the German's condition.

Pascal Wehrlein's team mate, Marcus Ericsson, is expecting a tough challenge from the young man who will be sitting on the other side of the garage this season.

"My goal is to beat him (Wehrlein) -- what else?" said the Swede.

"I expect a tough fight so I will have to do my best. He has been in the Mercedes programme for a long time, so they seem to believe in him."

GALLERY: F1 drivers' wives and girlfriends

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter