Simona de Silvestro
Finding the stars of tomorrow, today
Simona de Silvestro is 25. She was born in Thun, Switzerland and is the Sauber F1 team’s ‘affiliated driver’ this year
Who is she?
How good is she?
Will we see her in F1?
Having started out in single-seaters in Formula Renault aged 16, Simona has been racing in the USA since 2006. She finished third in the Atlantic Championship in 2009, taking four wins, then moved up to IndyCar. She was named Rookie Of The Year at the 2010 Indy 500, where she finished 14th.
What’s an ‘affiliated driver’?
Sauber’s intention is to put Simona through a track testing and simulator programme in 2014 with a view to her getting a superlicence to race in F1 with the team next year. Much better than her results suggests. She impressed in a GP2 test in 2007 but decided to stay in the US. In 2010 she suffered burns in an accident at Texas Motor Speedway – one of the fastest tracks in Indycar – then in 2011 a car failure in practice for the Indy 500 put her into the wall . She suffered second-degree burns, but still qualified the spare car 24th. Last year she claimed a podium finish and showed she could mix it with the frontrunners.
Has she driven an F1 car yet?
Yes, in a 2012 Sauber C31 at Fiorano. “It was as good a start in an F1 car as you could hope for,” said engineer Paul Russell. She’ll be behind the wheel again at Valencia in June. Possibly, but by not competing in Formula Renault 3.5 or GP2, she’s missed out on vital experience in skills such as tyre management. That said, she is brave and determined. Sponsorship may ultimately be the deciding factor.