February 14, 2014 — via Dave Lewandowski, IndyCar.com — INDYCAR photo — THUN, SWITZERLAND — Simona De Silvestro, the Swiss driver who competed in the past four IndyCar Series seasons, will join Switzerland-based Sauber F1 Team as an affiliated driver for 2014.
Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn (pictured with De Silvestro at the F1 event in Texas in November) said the goal is for De Silvestro compete for a seat for the 2015 season. She’ll test and participating in simulator training this year.
“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,” Kaltenborn said in a statement.
Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico and Adrian Sutil of Germany have the two Sauber seats this year and Dutchman Giedo van der Garde is the test and reserve driver.
“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,” De Silvestro said in a statement. “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’m thrilled to have this extremely unique platform on which to prepare myself to take on the challenge.”
De Silvestro, 25, recorded her first career podium in October with a runner-up finish at Houston (the first podium for a woman on a road course in the IndyCar Series) en route to placing 13th in the championship standings for KV Racing Technology. She was the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.