Sauber have increased the chances of seeing a female Formula One driver on the grid in the foreseeable future by signing Simona De Silvestro as an affiliated driver.
The 25-year-old has been racing in IndyCar since 2010 and won the Indy 500 “Rookie of the Year” award during her inaugural running of the historic race.
Sauber, who in 2012 signed the first female Team Principal, hope that De Silvestro could obtain the mandatory FIA Super-License which would allow her to take her place on the grid as early as 2015.
“After four years in IndyCar, Simona’s ambition is to enter Formula One in 2015,” Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said. “We regard her as a very talented race driver, and we therefore have decided to take her on board as an ‘affiliated driver’ and support her on her way to the pinnacle of motorsport.”
De Silvestro, a Swiss national, said, “I’m so happy to have the opportunity to take this step with such a great team. Sauber 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 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.”
Maria De Villota was the last female driver to hold an FIA Super License and held a reserve driver position with Marussia. However, she suffered a freak accident while conducting a straight-line test at the Duxford Aerodrome in July 2012 which left her with neurological injuries that eventually led to her death in October of last year.
Image courtesy Sauber F1 Team