Monisha Kaltenborn insists there is no conspiracy behind Pascal Wehrlein's absence – he is quite simply just not fit enough to race.
Wehrlein injured his back at the Race of Champions and missed the opening pre-season test before climbing into the C36 for the second.
Although he was deemed well enough to compete at the Australian Grand Prix, he opted out of the car after Friday's practices, declaring that he was not fit enough to race.
Now, two weeks later, he is again sitting out a Grand Prix, this time in China, leading to speculation that there may be more behind his absence.
— Sauber F1 Team (@SauberF1Team) April 6, 2017
But Saubder team boss Kaltenborn said: “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.
"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 as a result of the accident, and 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.
"If you were at the second test, or at the first race, you already saw what a difference there was physically in Pascal. But it takes time to catch up. We can't do miracles."
Experience the full coverage of the FIA Formula One season throughout 2017 on FOX Sports Play, where you can watch LIVE races from angles unlike any other, highlights, interviews, behind the scenes and many more. Don’t miss it!