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Simona de Silvestro will pursue F1 dream, starting as Sauber-affiliated driver

Feb 14, 2014, 9:27 AM EDT

Simona de Silvestro AP

Simona de Silvestro will be moving on from IndyCar after four years in the championship, and has been confirmed Friday as a Sauber-affiliated Formula One driver for 2014.

The preparation isn’t racing-related for the moment, as she’s not been placed by Sauber into a GP2 or World Series by Renault team. It will involve on-track testing, simulator training and mental and physical preparation as part of working to gain a superlicense and move into an F1 race seat in 2015.

“This is a major step towards me achieving a lifelong dream and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to take this step with such a great team,” the 25-year-old Swiss driver said in a release. “The Sauber F1 Team is a team with a legacy and the only Swiss team in Formula One, which I think makes this even more exciting.

The tie-in is a natural one; it’s a Swiss team, with F1’s lone female team principal in Monisha Kaltenborn.

“I can’t thank Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber enough for their support and belief in my abilities and for giving me this chance,” de Silvestro said. “I’m thrilled to have this extremely unique platform on which to prepare myself to take on the challenge.”

Kaltenborn didn’t elaborate more on the role of “affiliated driver” – the team already has Giedo van der Garde and Sergey Sirotkin in the pipeline behind 2014 race drivers Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez – but did admit she was pleased for de Silvestro.

“After four years in IndyCar, Simona’s ambition is to enter Formula one in 2015,” Kaltenborn said. “We regard her as a very talented race driver, and we, therefore, decided to take her on board as an “affiliated driver” and support her on her way to the pinnacle of motorsport.”

De Silvestro was in Austin to meet the Sauber team at this year’s U.S. Grand Prix. What at the time seemed a PR promotion, has, indeed, turned into so much more.

  1. testover6370 - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Very sad to see her leave Indycar. The line for an F1 seat is very long and there are no guarantees.

    • worknman24hours - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      The only guarantee here is that ,if Simona doesn’t try ,she will never know if she could have fought her way to a actual race drive in Formula One.

      I don’t sell Simona short here.

      She is still very fast and very young and I’d bet ready to beat the crxp out of any other race car driver that gets in her way.

      In a nice sort of,”Well, I didn’t think I could go that fast but the team did a great job” kind of lie nice way.

      Simona has talent and drive and an absolutely intolerance for poor racing performance from herself or her team.

      I will be watching an expecting results from Simona and I’ll be betting she won’t disappoint.

  2. f1fan1 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    She should have never left Europe in the first place. Whatever racecraft she had previously developed were likely severly atrophied as a result of her time in the IRL. Her real hope lies in finding a big backer to buy her the F1 seat. Good luck to her, but it will be a very difficult road. I see her having to fall back to mindycar trash racing in the end.

    • indycar02 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      when was she in the IRL ?!?… never.

      • f1fan1 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        Get a clue…it’s still the IRL. Just ask Roger Penske.

      • indycarseries500 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        Don’t engage the crazies.

  3. kitnamania13 - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    It’s a big loss for Indycar, but I’m not so sure this is good for Simona either. She won’t be racing in GP2 or Formula Renault, she won’t have much opportunity to test, given the restrictions, and there is no way she’s getting a race seat ahead of sauber’s sugar daddy, Sirotkin. The only thing she has going for her now is that Gutierrez is slow and Sutil doesn’t bring much money, so they’ll both be gone soon.

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