Sauber have announced that Antonio Giovinazzi will replace Pascal Wehrlein in the opening pre-season test after the German was ruled out with a back injury.
Wehrelein injured his back when he crashed into the barriers in January’s Race of Champions.
The former Manor driver underwent several tests before, on doctors’ orders, he was ruled out of the opening test.
Ferrari third driver Giovinazzi has been called up to replace him.
“I thank the Sauber F1 Team for making this real, and also Ferrari for allowing me to replace Pascal for test one in Barcelona,” said the Italian.
It is, however, a blow for Wehrlein as it means he will have only one test in which to get up to speed with the new C36.
“It is a pity that I cannot be in the car during the first test days, but I will be in Barcelona in order to get familiar with the team’s procedures and also to follow the Sauber C36-Ferrari on track,” he said.
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn added: “We took the decision that Pascal will not be driving in the first test in Barcelona. We will monitor his medical progress and will then decide on the next steps.”