Posted on February 14, 2014
Screen shot 2014-02-14 at 12.35.13

Sauber have signed female IndyCar racer Simona de Silvestro to a role it has dubbed ‘affiliated driver’.

The 25-year-old Swiss driver has been racing in the US since the age of 18, initially competing in Formula BMW and then the Atlantic Championship before graduating to IndyCar, where she has raced for the past four years. Last year, she scored a podium finish with second place in the first race of a double-header in Houston, Texas.

She was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 2010, and placed 13th last season racing for KV Racing Technology.

She now joins Sauber for a ‘preparation programme’, which will see her involved in track testing and simulator training, all aimed at obtaining a superlicence and progressing to the 2015 grid.

“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.

“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.”

Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn added: “After four years in IndyCar, Simona’s ambition is to enter Formula one in 2015. 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.”

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Sauber sign IndyCar racer Simona de Silvestro as ‘affiliated driver’
134 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: JimT
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 2:02 pm 

    The sponsorship opportunities are huge when/if she get’s a race seat, so smart move by Sauber.

    [Reply]

    Chrisralph Reply:

    Absolutely. The first woman in F1 will have it all at her feet, but would she want it? The media attention and pressure would be appalling. Still, maybe that’s something a woman might well cope with more easily… And all part of competing on a level playing field, cough.
    (Accusitors of sexism, please see my secretary. She’s under the car right now, make you a nice cup of tea in a sec…)

    [Reply]

    Rubinho's Keyfob Reply:

    “The first woman in F1 will have it all at her feet, but would she want it?”

    That’s something you’ll have to ask Maria Teresa de Filippis ;)

    [Reply]

    chrisralph Reply:

    Aah, but that was then, when it was a sport…

    gpfan Reply:

    Lella Lombardi. Desire Wilson.

    There was also the Italian bird
    from about twenty years back and
    who was the English one? Divina
    something?


  2.   2. Posted By: AdamJ
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 2:10 pm 

    Didn’t Danica win a race in Indycar?

    [Reply]

    jhynesadmin Reply:

    Corrected.

    [Reply]

    The Fat Hippo Reply:

    That was no reason to delete my comment though. I merely said the same as AdamJ

    [Reply]

    hippyneil Reply:

    Yes, in 2008. Also, according to Wikipedia “She holds the IRL record for most consecutive races running at the finish: as of October 2, 2011, she had completed 50 consecutive in the running “

    [Reply]

    Andrew Carter Reply:

    Yes at Motegi, one of the very few highlights of her overrated career.

    [Reply]

    gpfan Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Alan W Reply:

    Danica won an oval race, which was her strongest field. She disliked road courses which is why she moved to Nascar rather than advancing in open wheelers.

    [Reply]

    Radley Hirsch Reply:

    Heilo Castroneves was leading at the time and let her pass, he thought she was a lap down.

    [Reply]

    Leslie D'Amico Reply:

    Danica “won” when the race finished under caution because of rain

    [Reply]

    RR Reply:

    Actually, no, it finished under green with no rain and went the full distance. However, it was a fuel attrition race. She was just the one who didn’t have to pit for fuel with two laps to go.

    [Reply]

    Steve W Reply:

    Correct. It was one of those “fuel gambles” that paid off…

    Ben Reply:

    Yes but on an oval, this girl got her best result on a street track!

    [Reply]

    GT_Racer Reply:

    “Yes but on an oval, this girl got her best result on a street track!”

    Simona’s best finish on a road/street circuit is 2nd. Danica also had a best road/street circuit finish of 2nd on the Belle-Isle street circuit in 2007.

    She also had 2 front row starts in Indycar on road circuits.

    Not forgetting Danica had 2 highly impressive seasons on Road/Street circuits in the very competitive Toyota Atlantic series whihc didn’t feature any ovals when she was there in 2003/2004.

    [Reply]

    Dane Reply:

    Yup.

    [Reply]

    Garrett Bruce Reply:

    Yes – believe it was in Japan. She had a well-publicized dust-up with De Silvestro at one of the race tracks and it may have been at Indy.

    The prevalence of “published” Indy Car fellow-driver comments regarding the Sauber recruit have not provided a positive view for this reader (on balance) over the time she’s been involved in the Indy Car circuit, but that could be the media penchant for “controversy” over “substance” so only F.W.I.W.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Rich B
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 2:29 pm 

    surely this is money related rather than talent. it would be great to have a woman in F1`and in fairness she’s a solid driver in indycar but come on, not a single win and she’s F1 material?

    I’d be happy if she proves me wrong.

    [Reply]

    The Fat Hippo Reply:

    Well, in comparison to the likes of Chilton, Gutierrez and van der Gaarde she’s definitely F1 material.

    [Reply]

    Richard Reply:

    all 3 of them won races and finished in the top 6 in GP2 the year before they joined F1.

    a lot of people said max and gutierrez didn’t deserve their F1 seat either.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    lol, Lord help us!

    [Reply]

    Brent Reply:

    “F1 material”, what’s that?

    [Reply]

    Richard Reply:

    someone ready for F1

    [Reply]

    Javier Marcelo Reply:

    And “affiliated driver”, what’s that, too?
    new roles special for women?

    [Reply]

    Dave Hunt Reply:

    Carbon fibre.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Have a look in your wallet, you probably have some F1 material yourself :)

    [Reply]

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    Wanted: a billionaire to spend their cash. Please contact Hinwill, Switzerland…………………….

    Alan W Reply:

    I was quite impressed with her rookie season in IndyCar, considering she was with a minnow team with a low budget she performed well on road courses, outclassing some ex-F1 talent.

    I didn’t follow last season so I’m not sure what she went onto, but at least she’s experienced in open wheelers and still relatively young.

    [Reply]

    Jeff Reply:

    Huh? She’s a darn good driver. She’s fast AND racey. Well respected. When she makes news it’s about her as a driver, and her sex rarely comes into play. I think everyone in the IndyCar garage agrees that she is one of the more talented drivers in the league. It’s about time she is getting more notice.

    [Reply]

    Richard Reply:

    i know sex has nothing to do with it, i said it would be great to have a woman in F1.

    she is good but not worthy of a Sauber seat in my view

    [Reply]

    hippyneil Reply:

    Not a single win in Indy but she’s had a podium and finished more than half the races last year in the top 10. She has won in Formula BMW and in the Atlantic Championship series.

    Get a seat for money? There is more than one current driver that is there due to high sponsorship rather than talent. This is not a new thing, either.

    [Reply]

    Richard Reply:

    i’m well aware it’s not a new thing and i’ve read many times on this site people saying those pay drivers don’t deserve to be there.

    [Reply]

    RodgerT Reply:

    She’s as talented if not more than many of the men who get a drive by bringing in money.

    I’ve been a fan of hers ever since she continued to race even after burning her hands in a crash a couple of years ago.

    [Reply]

    JimmiC Reply:

    Whether that is true or not, there are plenty of men who have earned drives through money rather than talent, so why not women too?

    [Reply]

    Richard Reply:

    at what point did i say this was about sex? i said it’s money related and then said i’d like to see a woman in F1.

    [Reply]

    Steve Rogers Reply:

    Sex meaning gender. You did refer to get gender. Hard not to really, considering how unusual it is for women to drive in F1. And she’s got long hair too, she’d be the only F1 driver without a prison cut too :-)

    Steve Rogers Reply:

    “her” not “get”. Drat my fast inaccurate thumb.

    Anil Parmar Reply:

    She’s taken wins in other categories though, I believe.

    [Reply]

    Roberto Reply:

    “She’s taken wins in other categories though, I believe.”

    So have I.

    [Reply]

    ErikT Reply:

    In fairness, I think there have been plenty of F1 drivers that have gone to Indycar and not won.

    [Reply]

    Steve Zodiac Reply:

    Don’t think an Indy driver has ever converted to F1 successfully: Michael Andretti, Montoya, Seb Bordias spring to mind

    [Reply]

    Bikram Reply:

    Montoya not a success?? are u on dope he is the one with kimi to challenge Micheal Shumi post Mikka era. get your facts right mate.

    [Reply]

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    Monty was fast, but flawed. Taken to the cleaners by Kimi, and he left Macca and F1 in a huff mid season. Had his moments, but Formula 1 is about measured consistency, which Monty lacked.

    gpfan Reply:

    Both of you get one’s facts correct.
    JPM did not convert to F1 from America,
    it was the other way around.

    Remember, he spent two seasons as an F1
    test driver. Back when they could actually
    test! :)

    Dave Reply:

    Jacques Villeneuve, as much as I didn’t like him made a pretty good transition.. As did Mario.

    [Reply]

    ManOnWheels Reply:

    Jacques Villeneuve nearly won his first ever formula 1 race and clinched the title the year after. You don’t think that’s successful?

    [Reply]

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    He was rubbish from 2001 to 2006 though, taken to the cleaners by Jenson, Fernando (briefly, 2004), Felipe and Nick. And of course, he was sacked mid season 2006. Had five seasons at Team Brackley, scoring the magnificent total of………two podiums.
    Enough said!


  4.   4. Posted By: Gino Palermo
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 2:34 pm 

    Well done, both Sauber and Simona!

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: fox
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 2:40 pm 

    Marketing move. What do you need to attract mainly male F1 audience to the TVs? To bring a woman. All those words about racing are rubbish. Until the audience changes, which is unlikely in long term.

    [Reply]

    The Fat Hippo Reply:

    If it was a marketing move to attract the hormonally challenged, they would have tried to get Danica Patrick or Milka Duno.
    Simona de Silvestro is probably the best female racer world-wide, so I thionk it is a bit lacking in respect to say something like that until you’ve seen her actually driving an F1 car.

    [Reply]

    Bookoi Reply:

    Is it all that different to drivers being in F1 due to sponsorship or nationality? Not really. Her resume is arguable stronger than somebody like Rodolfo Gonzalez.

    I think you’re over-simplifying the audience too. If anything, having a woman on the grid could attract a stronger female audience.

    [Reply]

    SteveS Reply:

    It’s different in this sense …. fans OBJECT to drivers getting into F1 due to sponsorship or nationality. And if Simona were Simon he’d have far fewer defenders.

    [Reply]

    The Imperative Voice Reply:

    If there’s a marketing angle, it would be one in which she is relatively passive. Her comments to American media have been that she wants to be judged for her driving, not for being a woman. Her appearance is “wash and go” and she doesn’t play up the girlie angle, compared to say, Danica.

    In terms of money, I don’t know, she has had enough backing to work her way up the American ladder but the whole reason she’s in this position is she was struggling to line up an Indycar ride in terms of backing. Maybe with a year to work on it she could get sponsors to back a female F1 driver but playing up that angle would be counter to her seeming personality. Maybe Sauber thinks they can line it all up for a female F1 driver but that would be different than her buying her way in…..if it was buying her way in she’d probably still be in an Indycar.

    Far as her competitiveness, I think top end F1 drivers are better than Indycar drivers but by the time you get to backmarkers, I think a good Indycar driver will be as effective as they are. She’s no Kamui or Sergio but I think she can do a solid job.

    [Reply]

    ptfjd Reply:

    Male audience identifies with male drivers. Female audience (if there is any)lacks identification. We have grid girls, women have nothing. And this is not a smart move. If you bring Danica, that will be smart move, hope so. So this is basically a women solidarity with a financial backup, I think. I didn’t hear a male driver went F1 preparation programme, with 25 years and no win.

    [Reply]

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    I would say audience/driver support is more about nationality………….maybe wrong, but at Silverstone its pretty much “Good luck Jenson” and “Good luck Lewis” while Barcelona is “Viva la Fernando”………….I would say most F1 viewers support their national heros, but then grand prix racing has always been about national pride, that’s why in the 30s the Nazis heavily invested in the Silver Arrows of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, to showcase the supremacy of German engineering on the racing circuits of Europe. Not saying this patriotism is right or anything, but sport and politics are a potent mix.

    [Reply]

    hippyneil Reply:

    Say what now? While men may be in the majority, it’s not as big as you think. A marketing move? I’d rather see a female driver given a chance than a gimmick like double points.
    What do you need to attract an audience to F1? Easy TV access and good, competitive racing. That should do the trick.

    [Reply]

    JimmiC Reply:

    I think men (and women) have been watching F1 on TV for long enough without women drivers, thus rendering your point irrelevant.

    [Reply]

    Brisbane Bill Reply:

    Marketing move? Hello? Have you been watching what has been happening within F1 ever since Bernie got involved? It’s ALL about marketing. And I don’t think it is male viewers they are looking to attract but more about attracting companies keen to exploit the female angle in their corporate marketing and promotions.

    Sure, call me cynical but ask yourself – if just being associated with F1 is no longer “enough” how do you get an edge and get your brand noticed? You need something different. Maria de Villota was brought into Marrussia for the same objectives until the awful accident and I think females in F1 driving seats became a bit of a hot potato after that but good to see them getting into some serious team positions now. So the time is probably right to explore this marketing opportunity again.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Andrew Carter
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 2:51 pm 

    I hope she actually gets track time with this deal and isn’t just there for marketing. She’s far an away the best female driver out there at the moment and I reckon she could hold her own on the grid given the chance.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Neil Jenney
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 2:58 pm 

    On a lighter note, I bet she weighs less than Nico Hulkenberg.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Gaz Boy
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 3:21 pm 

    Good luck to Simona. The issue of her being a woman is non existent to my mind. The main issue is more cultural: just because you did will in Indycars is not a guarantee you will do well in Formula 1. OK, Jacques did well in his first couple of years including 1997 WDC, but from 1998 onwards he was rather lame, blown away by Jenson, Felippe and Nick, which ultimately led to Sauber-BMW sacking him mid season in 2006. And while Montoya was exciting, he was woefully inconsistent and taken to the cleaners by Kimi. And don’t get me started on Michael Andretti…………
    Like I said, good luck Simona, if you do graduate to F1 congratulations. My main concern is that I don’t think Indycars is a good grounding for being a successful F1 driver; a good analogy is comparing a Parisian haute cuisine chef with a good ole boys Texan evening barbecue.
    Anyway, good luck to her.

    [Reply]

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    Can I just add that maybe a year spent testing/developing with Sauber and learning the circuits, and more importantly learning the culture of F1 could give Simona an insight which I feel the likes of Monty, Michael Andretti and Christano Da Matta (remember him) lacked. Perhaps the culture shock of F1 is what denuded their ability to cope. We’ll see.

    [Reply]

    Andrew Carter Reply:

    Da Matta coped fine, he was just lumbered with a Toyota.

    [Reply]

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    Toyota F1 project: a great exercise in wasting money in my opinion…………..

    Brisbane Bill Reply:

    You make a good point there. However, the change in formula might mean that the difference between F1 and Indy has narrowed significantly, in terms of on-track aspects. There is still the Piranha club of F1 to negotiate and I think that is the significant cultural difference. Most drivers coming from over the pond to F1 usually go back with a seriously negative view of the way F1 operates.

    [Reply]

    Lawrence Reply:

    I don’t think that is accurate. Indy cars have been harder to drive in many respects as they don’t have nearly F1 downforce and the fact that they are spec cars there is more race craft down the grid. F1 back markers are mostly just turning laps and trying to stay out of the way.

    It would be nice to see this lead to her turning laps in GP2 where she can run against other up and coming F1 drivers.

    [Reply]

    Andrew Carter Reply:

    Some of the race craft from IndyCar backmarkers can be GP2 demolition jobs, but it should also be remembered that Indycars don’t have power steering and plenty of downforce so they’re definitely going to be tough to drive.

    [Reply]

    Chuck 32 Reply:

    Lawrence, Money can buy you a Soyuz ride to the International Space Station but not an F-1 seat. Talent, timing and big buckets of money from Sponsors can give you the opportunity to be noticed. This is the most difficult era we have ever seen to get a seat in Formula 1, we have a huge number of drivers competing worldwide in a dizzying number of series from karts to GP2. You say “ F1 back markers are mostly just turning laps and trying to stay out of the way. Which is absolutely nonsense – Everyone on the Grid is going as hard and fast as the tool allow. Every Lap
    Yes, hopefully we will see Simona in a GP2 car in the near future. F1 seats are very rare compared to the number of qualified applicants. May 1 of 2014 will mark the 20TH anniversary of the Last death in Formula 1; drivers are not making vacancies by being killed or maimed. At 25 years old she behind the curve, 2016 I would think is best case scenario and would be more likely with several GP2 podiums. Affiliate with Sauber and get in a GP2 car, prove to be in the top 5 available drivers, bring money and play the Gender angle – it might be enough to see her in Friday Practice.

    [Reply]

    Lawrence Reply:

    They are just turning laps. They have no competition most of the time and are thus not dealing with making competitive passes. They are trying to improve their cars and not look like idiots but they have absolutely no expectation of winning. The back teams have not even scored a point.

    I am not saying they are not top drivers, though some have absolutely bought their seats, I am saying that the race to race experience is no more valuable than being in the heat of battle in Indy Cars.

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    Sorry to sound like an F1 snob, but…………
    Comparing an F1 car with an Indycar is a non starter. An F1 car is Darcy Bussell’s nimble, agile, aero efficient ballet pump. An Indycar is a heavy coarse Texan’s cowboy boots. Another good analogy is an F1 car is a men’s lamb-skin waisted in fit n flare leather jacket while an Indycar is a heavy, cumbersome cowhide perfecto biker jacket.
    I wouldn’t see driving an F1 car is easier as well, at least not on the fast sweepers of Sepang, the much missed Istanbul circuit, Silverstone, Spa, Suzuka and even Interlagos. Don’t forget at Copse, Becketts and Abbey the drivers are pulling as much as 5G! Formula 1 drivers are true athletes, but they are also light, nimble and agile as well.
    Bit like a Formula 1 car really.

    [Reply]

    Lawrence Reply:

    I am not comparing Indy Cars to F1 cars I am comparing Indy Cars to the other cars that are used to get into F1 like F3 and GP2. I think Indy cars are easily more competitive and harder to drive making them a very good proving ground for potential F1 driver. Many more would use them as a way to get their other than the ingrained bias against them. We are not talking about comparing the backgrounds of an F1 driver to an Indy car driver, we are talking about comparing an Indy Car driver to other development series and I thing a strong argument can be made for Indy cars.

    Lawrence Reply:

    And yes high downforce cars that go where you point them are way easier to drive than high horsepower twitchy cars that only may go where you point them. The physical demands are different but if you think the G loads are a bigger issue in an F1 corner than the constant loading at an oval like Texas then you don’t know what you are talking about. Both sports take great athletes and far more F1 guys are scared to run ovals than the other way around.

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    Nah, disagree. Like I said, F1 is automotive sporting ballet: finesse and lightness of touch is required. Indycars are fat and cumbersome. It’s a cultural difference as well: F1 is haute cuisine, Indycars are a burger.


  9.   9. Posted By: Andreas Myrberg
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 3:29 pm 

    Great news, hope she makes it and kicks some ass

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: John in San Diego
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 3:30 pm 

    Good luck to Simona. I’ve seen her race in Indycar and she did a great job there. Hope she realizes her dream.

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Gaz Boy
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 4:07 pm 

    On the issue of girls competing in motor sport, Ginetta has a racing series for 14-17 years and plenty of girls have competed in that, which is great. Susie Wolff and Vanina Ickx (Jacky’s daughter) also have cut their teeth in touring cars, and Vanina has competed at Le Mans. Michele Mouton also had a successful rallying career. There’s plenty of motor sport categories such as sports car racing, touring cars (British and DTM) and rallying for girls to have a successful career behind the wheel.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Tom R
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 4:07 pm 

    I have a question for all posters criticizing this as a marketing move, have any of you actually watched an Indycar race? Simona is a hell of a driver that has been stuck with lousy teams for her 4 years, including a wasted 2012 stuck with the boat anchor Lotus engine. She is one of the most talented female drivers of her generation and has the talent to race F1 and do well in F1. I met her at the Indy Toronto last year, she is not only a great racer but will be a great ambassador for Sauber

    [Reply]

    SteveS Reply:

    It’s a marketing move, as you implicitly admit yourself with “She is one of the most talented FEMALE drivers of her generation”.

    If it wasn’t a marketing move you’d have been able to simply say “She is one of the most talented drivers of her generation”.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    “Simona is a hell of a driver that has been stuck with lousy teams for her 4 years”

    Sound to me like she might be the Hulkenberg of Indycars

    And now she’s affiliated with Sauber – a team to be respected but not one of the front runners.

    Holy crap, I just realised i can resize this textbox!

    This will keep me amused for hours :D

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: AMSG
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 4:08 pm 

    What ever happened to that 12 year old looking Russian kid they where going to put in the car this year. Did the money not come in ??? All gone very quiet on that front…

    [Reply]

    Andrew Carter Reply:

    He’s doing another year of Renault 3.5. I think most would agree it was far too early for him to make the step up.

    [Reply]

    gpfan Reply:

    That, and he could not get a super licence.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Andy in Norwich
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 4:39 pm 

    I’m very sceptical about a woman’s chances of doing well in F1, but that’s not the point. Simona isn’t being announced as a driver for the 2014 F1 series. Just having a female driver in the sport can only be a good thing. If such a move attracted good sponsorship money, perhaps it could save a team from going under.

    [Reply]

    Gaz Boy Reply:

    Very good point, however I would say most of Sauber’s fiscal problems that can be directed at the door of FOM and CVC and the unequal prize money distribution system in F1 at the minute. In other words, Mr E………..

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Mark
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 5:32 pm 

    I guess we’ll see how far this goes… but I hope she does well!

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: Mike from Colombia
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 6:15 pm 

    “Affiliated Driver” ? Swiss-English?

    What exactly does this mean?

    [Reply]

    GWD Reply:

    It just means she is in some way ‘officially’ connected to the organisation that is Sauber F1. Given she has not got a stated specific public role in the upcoming months means she’ll be doing sim work and probably adhoc publicity for some on-track role for 2015. Given there’s a possibility of 1 or 2 more teams on the grid next year, hiring out a driver might be profitable for Sauber, and she can get on-track experience like the other back of the pack driver have had access to – she just needs to not be a mobile chicane while doing the learning year(s), and she should progress up in time …

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: garyp
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 6:18 pm 

    As the cars get easier to drive is this the next step in small lightweight drivers that enable the car to be more easily balanced with moveable ballast?

    Just a thought…

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: D Vega
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 6:28 pm 

    Indycar has many better than drivers than her, but she is Swiss and a woman.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Remarkable observation.

    [Reply]

    Voodoopunk Reply:

    …His/her reading skills really are astonishing…

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Dan
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 7:09 pm 

    She’s no Danica, and that’s a good thing for F1.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: DB4Tim
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 7:13 pm 

    Very cool….a more skilled and quicker driver then Danica Patrick.

    [Reply]

    SteveS Reply:

    Not that that’s setting the bar very high.

    [Reply]

    DB4Tim Reply:

    But it is a good thing

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Ricky Grant
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 7:40 pm 

    What happened to the deal with russian investment??

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    A better question would be what happened to the Russian investment?

    Find the answer to that and you will answer your question ;)

    [Reply]

    Chuck 32 Reply:

    $50 Billion show pony in Sochi, Putin has leaned on Everybody to pay for it…

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: Ali
        Date: February 14th, 2014 @ 9:18 pm 

    Will miss her in Indycar, but the right move as she hasn’t seemed comfortable on ovals since her big crash at Indianapolis in 2011.

    I hope it works out for her, and if companies were smart, they’d get behind her as this could get huge. If any woman is going to race in F1, it’d be Simona. She’s proved herself in the junior categories, she got results in Indycar well beyond the capabilities of her car, and she hasn’t used her looks or connections to get to where she is.

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: kenneth chapman
        Date: February 15th, 2014 @ 12:44 am 

    still no one has provided an explanation for an ‘affiliated driver’. what exactly does that mean in real terms?

    [Reply]

    Denis 68 Reply:

    It means that you arrive at an F1 team with substantial money behind you and then about twelve months latter you leave that team as clean as the day you where born.

    [Reply]

    kenneth chapman Reply:

    ‘a filleted driver’, not ‘affiliated’ haha thanks for that.

    [Reply]

    Stone the crows Reply:

    Sounds like photo op’s and maybe a bit of straight-line testing now and then.

    [Reply]

    Brisbane Bill Reply:

    It basically means she is getting some F1 experience despite not having the FIA Super Licence that grants her the ability to drive in FIA snactioned F1 events (testing and/or races). So it will be limited to those young driver days and to the simulator but allows her to get into the F1 environment to understand the culture and ways that the whole circus operates.

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: monktonnik
        Date: February 15th, 2014 @ 5:43 am 

    I really hope that if Simona makes it to F1 that she has great success but I have to question whether there are more worthy drivers to get this opportunity.

    I understand that her career has been good, but Sebastien Bourdais came with a fantastic pedigree from CART and didn’t have great success.

    Having said that de Silvestro did have a strong test in a GP2 car a while ago, I understand, so who knows

    [Reply]

    Ali Reply:

    The point here is that she’s basically taking a year out to test. There’s no way that Ryan Hunter-Reay as a Indycar champion would do that – he’d expect a race seat straight away. Simona’s had decent results but not good enough to expect a seat in 2014.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Torchwood Five
        Date: February 15th, 2014 @ 6:25 am 

    This looks like a good move.

    Wins and podiums in other categories makes her one of the stronger candidates for her gender.

    Plus, a Swiss team supporting a Swiss driver.

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Luke
        Date: February 15th, 2014 @ 11:20 am 

    It’s irrelevant she’s a woman, who cares? From the very limited info in this article, she doesn’t have many good results. Speed is the only thing that matters unless she is buying her drive like some current drivers do, in which case maybe it will be a great marketing success for whatever team she drives for. But without talent, no one lasts too long in this sport. And based only on the photo , she doesn’t look like the smallest framed driver and, like all drivers, she will struggle to get a real drive if she’s over 70kg with the rules at the moment.

    [Reply]

    Andy in Norwich Reply:

    I have to disagree – if she wasn’t a woman we wouldn’t have heard about the ‘signing’. Being female opens up a lot of doors in Motorsport. Speed isn’t the only thing that matters – ask the Marussia F1 team for example. Teams need cash now like never before. As for money taking precedence over talent and keeping good poorer drivers away, I’d help matters by making a driver’s Superlicence valid for say 5 or 7 years. Then we could see more drivers in F1.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    If you don’t care why are you commenting?

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Torchwood Five
        Date: February 15th, 2014 @ 5:53 pm 

    A year goes fast.

    She has just the one to progress to, and get that superlicence.

    I did wonder last night if the new weight requirements would lead teams to look out for possibly lighter female candidates, as well as smaller-sized male juniors.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    I’m still gunning for jockeys and midgets.

    Bring on the booster seats :)

    [Reply]

    GWD Reply:

    Imagine those post-race interviews in Jockey’s voices…

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Finally a post race interview worth watching :)

    GWD Reply:

    EJ or DC would need a Helium filled balloon in his hand to use just before he asks a question, just to not sound out of place…


  28.   28. Posted By: Delgado
        Date: February 15th, 2014 @ 7:55 pm 

    It doesn’t look as if she brings much/any sponsorship with her. I raise the point because
    a team that had to go the money’d driver route in 2013 surely couldn’t afford to expend a single shred of their resources on any form of affiliation that wasn’t going to produce a tangible cash benefit? I really hope that this isn’t a PR gambit as Simona looks to be a capable racer. Good luck Simona, good luck Sauber!

    [Reply]

    Ali Reply:

    But surely this is a way for her to gain sponsorship? If its out there that she wants to be the first female racer in a long time (and she brings some credibility that say Susie Wolff doesn’t in that she raced in another open wheel series and proved herself), surely there’s going to be some companies support her?

    She did have a lot of sponsorship in America, but her main sponsor I think pulled out after the Baltimore Indycar race was cancelled as that was a big market for them. Plus, having sponsorship in the US and for F1 are completely different – what works for one market doesn’t necessarily work for the other.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Eric
        Date: February 15th, 2014 @ 8:08 pm 

    Who knows, someday there might even be a female commentator on this website!

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    By which I mean commentor.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Anne for one?

    I’ve seen her to comment fairly regularly.

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Jeff DeTray
        Date: February 15th, 2014 @ 10:56 pm 

    According to several online sources, de Silvestro weighs 68kg. That places her right in the middle of F1 driver weights.

    Kobayashi is lightest at 57kg, and Sutil is heaviest at 75kg, according to ESPN F1.

    [Reply]

    Mike from Colombia Reply:

    The girl likes her food then?

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: GT_Racer
        Date: February 16th, 2014 @ 2:12 am 

    Hopefully she’ll get a fair crack at F1 because I know that everyone who’s ever worked with her have been full of praise for how good she is.

    I think back to 2011, She had a car failure during practice at Indy which resulted in a big crash & wrote off the teams brand new chassis. For the rest of that year she was left with an old Dallara chassis from 2003 which was significantly overweight compared to the newer cars yet she pulled out some simply brilliant drives with it & got praise from just about everyone in the Indycar paddock.

    Put Simona in an F1 car, Give her a proper chance to show what she can do (Not just publicity demo drives) & I believe she’d impress enough to get people seriously talking about a race seat in the future.

    Then again Katherine Legge impressed the Minardi team when she had a test with them at the end of 2005 & despite all the praise she got from those who were there she was never given another go.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: Rob
        Date: February 17th, 2014 @ 2:26 pm 

    Without a doubt having a female driver will attract a female audience and more male viewers, just look how popular Ashley Force became in her short FC career!

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: Kamui Fan
        Date: February 17th, 2014 @ 4:09 pm 

    I think people are making too big a deal out of her not winning a race in Indy. Just look at Sebastian Boudrias he won Champ car championships, and was poor in F1.

    Or look at Scott Speed. He was so bad he dropped mid-season.

    [Reply]

    Mike from Colombia Reply:

    i.e., so if they won and then flopped in F1, what chance does she have?

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: Aficion
        Date: February 18th, 2014 @ 5:44 am 

    I think we should all drop the gender issue, and concentrate on the real problem. She’s Swiss, and we all know that they smell like cheese. Example – Roger Federer.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Whereas your comment has it’s own particular odour ;)

    [Reply]

    Aficion Reply:

    Yes, it’s called ‘tongue-in-cheek’. It never fails to surprise me that some people still don’t recognize the scent.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Just as it never fails to surprise me that some people still don’t recognize a ;)

    ;)


  35.   35. Posted By: Darren Lin
        Date: February 19th, 2014 @ 2:18 pm 

    It’s great to see Sauber sign her.

    [Reply]

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