Sauber helping De Silvestro towards 2015 race seat

2014 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Sauber have announced IndyCar racer Simona de Silvestro is to be appointed an “affiliated driver” at the team.

The Swiss driver “is taking the next step in her career by joining a preparation programme with the Sauber F1 Team, with the goal to gain her super licence and prepare for a race seat in Formula One for 2015”, the team said in a statement.

“After four years in IndyCar, Simona’s ambition is to enter Formula One in 2015,” said team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.

“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.”

De Silvestro said the move is “a major step towards me achieving a life-long dream”.

“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 can’t thank Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber enough for their support and belief in my abilities and for giving me this chance.”

De Silvestro has been racing in IndyCar since 2010. She moved to KV Racing last year and scored a best finish of second place at Houston towards the end of the season.

2014 F1 season

Browse all 2014 F1 season articles

Image © Sauber

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

66 comments on “Sauber helping De Silvestro towards 2015 race seat”

  1. 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.

  2. i’m a bit surprised sauber don’t see any potential in last years gp2 champ, who is also swiss.. it would be a bit more logical to make leimer “affiliated driver” than de silvestro.

    however, i’m still glad to see it. hopefully we’ll get to see here in a friday practice session.

    if they sign her for a race seat in 2015, sauber have won back my support they’ve lost with signing sutil

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      15th February 2014, 0:30

      They should sign de Silvestro and Leimer for 2015

      1. all swiss line-up? i certainly wouldn’t mind! :D

    2. Logic doesn’t always win out in racing. That’s why Max Chilton is on the grid and why F3 champions race in DTM or Indycar.

    3. @rigi What will happen to Sergey Sirotkin?

    4. “i’m a bit surprised sauber don’t see any potential in last years gp2 champ, who is also swiss, it would be a bit more logical to make leimer “affiliated driver”

      A bit like saying I’am surprised Ferrari didn’t make 2012 GP2 Champion Davide Valsecchi an affiliated driver who is also Italian.

      1. Not at all. Ferrari aren’t really an entry-level team.

  3. Well hopefully Sauber will be more successful preparing her for an F1 seat than they were with Sirotkin (although I assume that was largely caused by his sponsors falling over). I’d be happy seeing Simona in Sutil’s seat.

  4. Woohoo!
    (Too excited to form a coherent comment. Sorry.)

  5. With cars getting slower and less g-forces, it is very possible that potintial future female drivers should be able to compete against the men. There will be less physical stresses on the body…..

    But looking that that image, .. Simona’s got some weight she will need to lose

    1. @maksutov My thoughts exactly, she seems umm… too thick

    2. If she can handle 5G in an Indycar without power steering, and GP2 drivers can handle F1 cars, I don’t see an issue in that department. Her speed may be in question though.

    3. Steph (@stephanief1990)
      15th February 2014, 15:00

      Erm, women can be body builders and some men can be so skinny they look like they’d snap if they picked up a match stick. I wish this sweeping generalisation of the sexes would go away when really there isn’t a lot of sexual diamorphism in our species. Plus, as Facebook as shown recently there are more than just two genders.

      1. Personally, I’m not sure Simona is actually good enough for an F1 racing seat, but if Sauber want to give her a go then best of luck to her.

        I disagree with your point though regarding gender differences. Yes, women can be body builders etc. but in F1 we are talking the pinnacle of fitness and muscle strength (in terms of coping with G-forces) and this is where the sexes would be compared as they are facing the exact same challenge in the same cars. The vast majority of Men are physically stronger than the vast majority of women. It doesn’t mean women can’t be strong, but a woman’s peak is not going to be as high/strong as a man’s when you’re talking this level of fitness.

        1. It is less about outright strength and more about endurance though. Women can still build a strong course and neck muscles, which I believe is most important for an F1 car. We very really see F1 drivers being exhausted any more anyway.

      2. “Women can be body builders and some men can be so skinny they look like they’d snap if they picked up a match stick. I wish this sweeping generalisation of the sexes would go away when really there isn’t a lot of sexual diamorphism in our species.”

        Not without steroids. When it comes to strength sexual dimorphism is actually pretty huge, especially upperbody strength. I’m an amateur olympic weightlifter so I spend a lot of time doing strength lifts (squat/deadlift/bench press) to get stronger for my main sport. I’m not particularly big or strong or athletic or genetically gifted nor have a i trained for decades but in all of the main strength lifts i’m stronger than any woman who has ever lived. So actually yeah there are pretty huge differences.

        Having said that, those differences shouldn’t make any kind of effect in f1 anymore so i’m not sure why we’re even discussing it, i believe that was the OPs point.

  6. I’ve watched her in Indy car for the last couple of years and think she’s a very talented driver who’s done well with lesser cars quite often. I think she’ll do well in F1, but I do believe she’s going have to work on her weight. I feel bad because you shouldn’t say those things about a woman…but as a driver, she’s no different than a man. Those extra pounds hurt the cars performance and she’s going to have to be willing to drop them just like the men do.

    1. Come on now. Simona is no swim suit model, but I gather that she weighs in at around 150 pounds. About the same as Hamilton and Alonso. I haven’t been hearing any cries for those guys to lose weight.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        15th February 2014, 3:16

        Well she’s not very tall, judging from the picture, since she’s around the same height as Kaltenborn and she’s not exactly tall.

        But she does look like she’ll need to lose a few pounds. When you see guys like Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton they’re all little whippets really. They’re really tiny guys, they could be jockeys.

        The reason you’ve not heard calls for Alonso and Hamilton to lose weight is because they don’t need to lose weight as they’re already so light and fit.

      2. It is more to her having broad hips. It looks as though she may have trouble squeezing in to a small space. But since I have never been near an F1 cockpit I can not really judge.

      3. dude, even Kaltenborn.looks more fit than her.. trust me, she will lose weight one way or the other

        1. She looks like she has hefty shoulder and thigh muscles, like you’d expect from an athlete. You just usually don’t see the men in tight jeans.
          But seriously, she hasn’t even gotten the race seat yet, and all anyone cares about is her weight? Every driver who gets into F1 has to lose weight, save your concern for the tall men instead of the short women. She has it easy on that count.

        2. dude, even Kaltenborn.looks more fit than her.. trust me, she will lose weight one way or the other

          @maksutov This is a bad picture chosen by @keithcollantine, she has an awkward posture, the official photo release of her is better, check it here…×478/aA9K/manual/sds_portrait_hinwil.jpg

      4. It doesn’t matter if she weighs the same as alonso or hamilton, they’re taller and thus cant lose more than a certain amount of weight. Like any part of an f1 car they’re always looking to minimise weight. What’s the point in having a 5’2-3″ driver who weighs the same as a 5’7-8″ one? When with the right training you can make them weigh 50lbs less and use that extra weight as redistributable ballast.

      5. It’s not a matter of being a swim suit model or not. It’s a matter of maximizing every advantage you can get. If Lewis or Seb were carrying 15 lbs more than they had to, they’d get their butt kicked and have to lose the weight because it’s an advantage when driving. The same goes with her as she could clearly lose the extra weight to be her absolute best. If I was dating her, I’d be perfectly happy as I don’t like stick women. So this is not a comment on her looks or “ideal weight”, etc. It’s a comment on maximizing every advantage you can get as a driver.

    2. I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal for her to be in impressive shape. With her body type she will build muscle quickly. She already looks like she’s got some pipes.

  7. I’ve been a big fan of Simona’s for some time now, and she certainly has a lot of experience (if not much glory) in high end machinery. While it’s unlikely that she would be a threat for a WDC, she is as at least as deserving of having a shot in F1 as some of the current crop of drivers. Thanks Sauber, good luck to Simona, and I hope we get to see her on the starting grid one day!

  8. two comments: (1) is she really the best there is to look forward to promoting her in 2015 to be a race driver? it looks completelly like one more publicity stunt! (2) to be honest id like to see her racing more than for example maldonado, chilton, gutierrez and other pay drivers…

    1. Somewhat ironic, given that de Silvestro was a pay driver in Indycar. I don’t think she’s in the class of Scott Dixon, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Justin Wilson, Ryan Briscoe etc. Speaking of Briscoe, he was actually a Toyota development driver before switching to Indycar, and the first F3 Euroseries champion (2003) against several drivers that raced in F1.

  9. She looks heavier then alot of the male F1 drivers!

  10. Simona de Silvestro = Poor man’s “Danica Patrick”

    1. No, she’s a much better driver.

  11. So Sauber have now made promises to try get Sirotkin and de Silvestro ready for race seats in the near future. I wonder how the dynamic duo of Gutierrez and Sutil (massive sarcasm btw) are feeling about that.

  12. F1 cannot be this desperate to find any half decent female driver to get a race seat in F1.
    Sauber are desperate for the Benjamins $$$’s.
    Next we’ll have females competing in all male sports.

    1. Nah, its only driving sports that seems to be an exception, but I have a feeling one day this will change. – that we will have F1 for females only. I hope that happens.

      Because, if and when it does happen, all this male vs female is going to get rather tedious and boring.

      1. Just like UFC has done with females division of UFC.

        If the powers in F1 want females in F1 so badly than create a series for females.

        That way females can really get a fair go at it.

      2. Steph (@stephanief1990)
        15th February 2014, 15:02

        @Maksutov what’s really tedious is being a woman who is barred from competing in sports with men. If you’re threatened by women then that’s your problem- we shouldn’t have to have our own series because of that.

        1. I really don’t think any professional male athlete has ever wanted to keep women out of their sport because they’re threatened. What’s the stat about tennis players? that if the number 1 womens player played with they guys the might make it into the top 2000? something like that. In nearly all sports it’s never going to be anything but a publicity stunt for sponsorship which is why people are hostile to it.

          However f1 is different, it isn’t really physical anymore so I assume it’s only a matter of time until there’s a female driver there on merit, and that’s totally fine obviously.

          1. Exactly, no one is threatened, sadly females are being paraded by the powers in F1 to lure more/new tv audiences therefore new sponsorship $$.

            Is this what females want? To be used as bait?
            To me that is not being treated respectfully, but i guess female drivers don’t see it that way, they are so desperate to be like males.

            Might as well have unisex swimming, tennis golf, rugby, cricket, FIFA world cup ……………………

            Females want a fair go right, so there shouldn’t be any gender racism.

        2. @stephanief1990

          I can’t help but laugh at your comment,…. i threatened by a woman..? For what!? I have no reason to be, in fact I welcome the day a woman will match and surpass the speed, agility, reaction and strength of men. I await for that day with great anticipation.

          If you wish to compete against men, go for it.

      3. Women might be slightly disadvantaged physiology-wise, but it’s a hell of a fairer go to let those who can compete race in the established series with money, sponsorship, infrastructure, and attention, than to build a women’s racing ghetto.
        Yes, F1 drivers have to be fit, but let’s not kid ourselves, they are not the strongest men out there–they’re mostly pretty slight. There are many more important skills that got them where they are, and I don’t know of any reason to believe that a female race car driver would be disadvantaged in those.

    2. @howard Formula One is not a “male sport”. There is nothing in the regulations which forbids women from competing. Thankfully.

      1. So your happy to see all male sports turn into unisex sports?

        F1 is a male sports as there has never been a female in F1.

        And why is F1 so intent on having a female in F1 now?
        Why didn’t they push for females all these years, even back when the sport started?

        1. Never been a female in F1? Dude,at least read up a bit on F1 history before you comment…

          1. “Real” F1 racers??

        2. F1 is a male sports as there has never been a female in F1.

          @howard What a great point! Oh, wait:

          1. So only 1 of them had a season.

            The others 1 or 3 races.

            How come they didn’t continue on?

        3. Since you ask why those drivers did not compete for more than one season, Desire Wilson decided to move into sportscar racing instead, where she was quite competitive (helping win two races in the World Sportscar Championship).
          Part of the reason she lost out in F1 was because Alboreto bought her seat at Tyrrell (in the earlier part of his career, Alboreto was a pay driver) – she was generally considered to be a talented driver, but she could never acquire the sponsorship of her rivals and therefore lost out due to money.

          Similarly, Lella Lombardi was also fairly talented but, similarly, found herself driven out of the sport thanks to a lack of money – again, she moved into sportscar racing and was much more competitive there, managing to beat a number for serving and former F1 drivers on pure merit.

          As for Divina Galicia, she ended up moving from driving cars to managing them instead, joining the Skip Barber Racing School and eventually becoming the vice president of that institution.

        4. @howard

          So your happy to see all male sports turn into unisex sports?

          I don’t give a damn about any sports which don’t involve four wheels and an engine :-)

          1. Good, that means you wouldn’t care less if there are females in Man United, Chelsea so on, female boxers taking on Floyd Mayweather and female rugby players taking on the All Blacks. This applies to every other male dominated sports.

            Good to see your all about equality and fair go.

          2. @howard I have no idea what your point is any more but if you think you can deliberately misconstrue my disinterest in some sports as being an opposition to equal treatment of the genders you can think again.

            Pity we had to get so humourless about this as I was trying to keep it lighthearted.

      2. That’s only because racing is not yet recognised as a sport requiring a division – probably because it’s never been properly evaluated. The sports that do have division due to gender, naturally do so because the male has a clear advantage due to his strength and speed. While strength doesn’t really play a key role in racing (unless one could argue and perhaps even measure the differences when extreme g-forces are continuously applied over extended period of time, eg. neck muscles etc…between a woman and a man), the speed and reaction time clearly do play a role. It’s only a matter of time before this gets realised. There simply isn’t enough women in the sport at the moment for anyone to notice the obvious disadvantages. And so I believe one day this will be realised and regulation will be re-evaluated.

        1. motor-racing*

        2. Ummm… if it’s obvious, then why doesn’t anyone notice, and if there aren’t enough women for it to show, then how do you know?

          1. @pelican

            did you actually read what I wrote? or are you just ranting for the sake of it? the answer to your question is given above. Unless you are hopelessly trying to prove that women have the same speed, agility as men .. which they obviously don’t. When it comes to extreme sport and cutting edge competition (because that’s what this is all about), women will likely lose out, that is my opinion and my argument based on what I already said. Rather than me repeating how do I know, how about “you” tell me: how do you know that they won’t,? on what basis are you concluding that competition is completely fair? prove it.

        3. @Matksutov – Why the hell should I have to prove your opinion wrong? Really, how can I? It’s just your opinion. There’s no doubt that men are stronger than women, but the strength needed to drive a race car isn’t pushing anyone’s capablities – F1 drivers bulk down and sacrifice muscle mass for weight. As for agility, women are considerably more flexible, so that probably wasn’t what what you meant? And as for speed behind the wheel of a race car, tell me why you think so, and base it on something besides your hunches.
          So much of what hold women back in so many male-domiated arenas – not just sports, but also science, tech fields, business, and politics, is that both men and women hold these uninformed impressions of what men are better at or women can’t do, based on anecdotes or something someone said once or poorly designed experiments, or just pure prejudice.
          But all those uninformed opinions from everyone from parents and junior coaches and commentators on the internet, to the people holding power to change things, reinforce each other and add up to hold women back at every stage. My rant is for the sake of it, yes. Your hunches hurt actual people.

          1. @pelican

            uninformed impressions

            ok, keep thinking that…

            but in terms of science and brains. No ones saying anything about. However, if you wanna go there, then read this


          2. Kewl. But how does gendered differences in inter- vs intra-lobe connections in the average brain mean a woman who’s been racing open-wheel race cars in a top-flight series for years is actually incapable of doing it at all?

    3. A couple of them were gimmicks, but one was given junk to drive (like Desiree Wilson, who won non-championship F1 races). Lella Lombardi scored points in one of F1’s most dangerous eras in a Lavazza/March.

  13. Mark in Florida
    16th February 2014, 0:07

    Simona is a decent driver. She has had some very good drive’s at times and has been very competitive. If she drove for someone like Penske a better comparison could be made as to her real ability lay. Whether this is a gimmick or not,at least she’s a real driver.

    1. Yeah this is definitely a step up from the susie wolff farce. However, I still think if the powers that be really want to get a female driver into f1 and have them do well and be respected then they need to get them into a decent team in GP2 and have them win or come close.

  14. Somehow I felt, and still feel, Redbull would be the first one to introduce women into F1 again. These guys are good at doing new stuff.

    I am not suggesting replacing Daniel Ricchardo, but maybe in the Torro Rossos…

  15. @ Keith Collantine, your the one that misinterpreted my comment.

    What i said was that it is good to see that you support all female ventures into male sports, that’s all.

    Because there are going to be alot of people who will not support females in male sports.

  16. How awesome would it be to see females in the British lions or the 3 Lions for that matter, or Andy Murray playing Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. I don’t think they should be denied access. There should be no gender racism.

Comments are closed.