Simona De Silvestro targets F1 drive with Sauber next season

Ian Parkes 9/05/2014
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Breaking the mould: Simona De Silvestro believes she has what it takes to succeed in F1.

Simona De Silvestro sees no reason why she cannot compete in Formula One next season and prove women have what it takes to drive at motor sport's highest level.

In February this year De Silvestro was appointed as an affiliated driver by Sauber, embarking on a preparation programme with the ultimate aim of her gaining a superlicence and driving in F1.

The 25-year-old Swiss took her first step towards her ambition by spending two days at the Fiorano test track in Italy last month driving a two-year-old car.

Appreciably, De Silvestro still has many hurdles to overcome before she becomes the first woman since Lella Lombardi in 1976 to start a grand prix.

After a four-year career in IndyCar, with a high of second in the penultimate round of last season in Houston, De Silvestro is eager to prove a woman can make the grade in F1.

"It is a risk to leave my career in the US, but since I was a small girl I've always wanted this," said De Silvestro on her first visit to a Formula One paddock ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"It was actually a pretty easy choice because this chance only comes once in life and you have to take it.

"I don't think about not racing, I'm thinking about doing everything right and getting in the race car, and racing next year is the goal.

"There's still a long road ahead, but if I do everything correctly and show good pace, I don't see why not. I just have to get the job done in the car."

As part of the learning curve, De Silvestro will continue to attend future grands prix and observe how the team works ahead of a second test in Valencia towards the end of next month, again in the old car.

Even though it has been 38 years since Lombardi's appearance – and she remains the only woman in F1 history to finish in the points – De Silvestro refuses to be burdened by pressure or expectation.

"It's something that hasn't happened for a long time, but to me the important thing is I show we can be competitive, and up until now I think I've been able to do that in my career," added De Silvestro.

"Until IndyCar I'd always won races and been up front, and those are important criteria.

"If I get the chance to go into F1 I want to do the same thing – show we can be as fast as the guys. That's the key."

Crucially, though, like with any seat at one of the midfield teams, being able to bring in sponsorship is crucial.

De Silvestro claims she has backers as she said: "The sponsors I have on the C31 (the two-year-old car) are those I've had since 2008.

"They've always known F1 is my ultimate goal, and they're helping me try to get there, and there are opportunities (for new sponsors) out there, for sure."

Unlike IndyCar, and other racing series in the United States where female drivers have been embraced, De Silvestro appreciates F1 is a tougher battleground.

"The biggest thing is what Danica (Patrick) has been able to do," said De Silvestro. "She started in IndyCar eight years ago and was pretty competitive, and I definitely think that opened the mentality a little bit.

"In Europe it is a little bit different, and F1 is different. It's the highest level you can get to, not many drivers get the chance to do this. Whether you are male or female, it's hard.

"You have to want it really badly to make it happen."

Most popular

Related Tags

Hamilton fastest in opening practice

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
On top once again: Lewis Hamilton is setting his sights on a fourth straight victory in Spain.

Lewis Hamilton continued his dominant form on Friday morning when he topped the times for Mercedes in opening free practice for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton, winner of the last three races in Malaysia, Bahrain and China, clocked a fastest lap of one minute and 27.023 seconds in the final minutes of the session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

His friend, former team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button, was second fastest for McLaren ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the leading Red Bull on a warm, sunny day.

Hamilton's advantage at the front of the field was a luxurious 0.868 seconds on a day when both championship leader and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and defending champion Sebastian Vettel suffered problems that curtailed their running.

Rosberg suffered from a power-unit problem while fellow-German Vettel pulled up early in the session with electrical problems.

Home hero Spaniard Fernando Alonso was fourth for Ferrari ahead of German Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes and Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

Dane Kevin Magnussen was seventh for McLaren ahead of Venzuelan Pastor Maldonado of Lotus, Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India and Brazilian Felipe Massa for Williams.

Defending four-time world champion German Sebastian Vettel managed only four laps in his Red Bull before stopping out on the track after suffering electrical problems. 

Most popular

Related Tags

McLaren look to end recent pain with success in Spain

Ian Parkes 8/05/2014
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Confident of progress: McLaren racing director Boullier.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier is confident the ailing team will be back in the mix this weekend.

Following a positive start to the campaign in Australia, where rookie Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button were second and third, McLaren have failed to score a point in their last two races.

The team came off the rails in Bahrain and China. Clutch problems accounted for both Button and Magnussen in Bahrain, and in China a lack of pace and downforce saw the duo finish a lap down on winner Lewis Hamilton in a miserable 11th and 13th.

Asked whether they will be more competitive in Barcelona Boullier said: “Definitely. This is 100% sure. What we have seen on the track has been one thing, but back in the factory we know what is going to happen in the next three or four races.

“What we have picked up over the past few weeks is good, very good. While not all of the steps we have taken will be in evidence in Barcelona, they mark the start of a fresh push and spirit within the whole organisation.”

Button, in his fifth year with McLaren, said: "We’re still at the early stages with our car, and for us it’s less about the components we fit to it, and more about the bigger picture and finding a useful direction, gaining trust in our measurements and pushing ahead.

“We all know this team has the capacity to develop a car through a season, so I hope and trust we’ll start to push forwards again soon.”

Most popular

Related Sections