Sauber has named IndyCar standout Simona de Silvestro an affiliation driver for the 2014 season with the ultimate goal of bringing her to Formula 1 for the 2015 season.
She will hope to become the first full time female Formula 1 driver. Maria de Villota was a test driver and Desire Wilson attempted but failed to qualify for a race.
“After four years in IndyCar, Simona’s ambition is to enter Formula one in 2015,” said Monisha Kaltenborn, team principal of Sauber. “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.”
In preparation for the 2015 season, de Silvestro will undergo simulator testing as well as on track testing and physical and mental training to prepare for the demands of Formula 1. This plan should also lead to her obtaining the FIA Superlicence required to race in F1.
According to Racer, de Silvestro will make her first on track appearance in an F1 car after the Chinese Grand Prix and will spend 8 to 10 days testing in order to prepare for her Superlicence test at Barcelona, Spain after the Spanish GP.
If she passes her test, she will be set for a 2015 ride and will be able to partake in Friday practice at a few events later this season.
Simona was equally as excited to join the team.
This is a major step towards me achieving a life-long dream and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to take this step with such a great team. 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. I can’t thank Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber enough for their support and belief in my abilities and for giving me this chance. I’m thrilled to have this extremely unique platform on which to prepare myself to take on the challenge.”
De Silvestro has raced in the United States since 2006 working her way up the junior formula ladder until joining the IndyCar Series in 2010 winning rookie of the year at both the Indianapolis 500 and overall. She led 5 laps total and scored her first podium in Houston of 2013.