Simona de Silvestro, Sauber C31, Fiorano, 2014

De Silvestro completes first F1 test day with Sauber

2014 F1 season

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Simona de Silvestro, Sauber C31, Fiorano, 2014Simona de Silvestro spent her first of two days at the wheel of a Sauber F1 car at the Fiorano circuit today.

The 25-year-old, who spent the last four years racing in IndyCar completed 112 laps at the Italian track.

De Silvestro covered 336km at the wheel of a two-year-old Sauber C31.

“Although it’s something very special to drive a Formula One car, I was not too nervous in the morning,” said de Silvestro.

“But after completing the installation lap I realised that this was my first lap in a Formula One car, and that this was something really special.

“What impressed me most was the downforce of the car and the braking,” she added. “When I did my first lap the brakes were cold, but even then the decelaration was beyond what I had experienced before.”

“The g-forces are significantly higher compared to what I was used to in IndyCar. Overall, I’m happy with my first day in a Formula One car.”

The Swiss racer, who was announced as an ‘affiliated driver’ for the team earlier this year, said she was pleased with her physical condition after driving the car for the first time.

“I have been training really hard and this paid off,” she said. “I can’t wait to get into the car again tomorrow. The feeling you get driving a Formula One car is just awesome.”

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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...

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37 comments on “De Silvestro completes first F1 test day with Sauber”

  1. All of a sudden, step noses look amazing :O

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      26th April 2014, 19:10

      @olliekart – I think that that is just because the C31 was a thoroughly good looking car; fast too. Even by 2014 standards this will continue to be ugly…

      1. Seriously? I’m amazed anybody can think it looks anything other than ghastly.

    2. I have to agree with @matt90 I took one look at that nose and said “wow, I forgot just how ugly the duck billed platypus nose could be!”

  2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    26th April 2014, 18:32

    Seems like she already has some sponsors during testing. I bet we see her on the grid next year. Count on it.

    1. Entergy (the same sponsor she had for 4 years in Indycar).

  3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    26th April 2014, 19:05

    Unfortunately Sauber’s test manager Paul Russel used the word “solid” when referring to Simona, which tends to translate into “underwhelming” in motorsport…or it could just be overexposure to Martin Haven today that has ingrained a degree of cynicism in me! Nothing can be expected from a first outing in an F1, and it is nice to see that the finest female prospect that has been anywhere near an F1 car in some time gets some track time.

    1. Well even if you are right, their current drivers are “solid” too, so i guess she still has a chance.

  4. That was such a great car! Weird seeing it in alternative colours, but great seeing her get a go, she’s obviously a decent driver. It would be a shock, but it definitely cool, to see her on the grid.

  5. Very similar livery to what she ran in Indycar last year-

    1. I think that’s the idea.

      I like it. The gun-metal grey is really quite boring.

      Always thought it looked great on the HRT, though.

      I wish they’d just go back to black!

    2. Looks horrific that Indy Car, horrible faux aero dynamics and a £50 front wing… we may moan about F1, but it’s light years ahead

      1. Thats the Super Speedway oval aero configuration.
        Made to create minimal drag in order to get maximum speed on the big ovals like Indy.

    3. I can’t stop seeing a modern M195 in the livery..×399.jpg

      A bit brighter, but still!

    4. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      26th April 2014, 23:28

      the livery is definitely better looking than the sauber, but too much of a indy style, which to me is a negative. but really: if she is testdriving for sauber and driving a sauber, i would expect the sauber livery! that is not a sauber, since sauber never looked like that!! i’m picky i know…

    5. Same sponsors too (which aren’t on the Sauber this year). I assume it must be her own personal sponsors who offered money to be on the car. As it’s not this year’s car, I guess Sauber’s sponsors aren’t contracted to be on there.

  6. money (@carlos-danger)
    26th April 2014, 21:25

    can she challenge alo/ham/vet not sure

    1. @carlos-danger

      Point is that she doesn’t need to. More than half the grid can’t challenger these guys, yet they have a seat in F1. She’s probably won’t be a champion, but she’s a solid driver, and could bring some other fans and sponsors to the sports. And this is really important.

      1. money (@carlos-danger)
        27th April 2014, 1:44

        you race to win it’s not like she has a long list of competent female drivers in f1 history to fall back on if things go south. the glass ceiling is not going to be broken by an also-ran.

    2. oh, and on the current grid everyone can?

    3. Not many can! If you are only allowed in F1 if you can compete with Alonso, F1 would consist of a very small grid!

  7. With that livery, the car looks looks it came out from SEGA’s Super Monaco Grand Prix ! Love it !

  8. Do you think there’s maybe a chance of her getting a drive in some of the later races?

    The car’s clearly a dog. It’s generate some publicity and give her some good F1 race experience. Plus, it looks like she’s bringing significant sponsorship.

    Plus, she’s pretty talented to boot.

    1. I think that Gutierrez and Sutil are both bringing in more money than de Silvestro can offer and Sirotkin’s backing might be higher too. You also have van der Garde waiting in the wings too – he’s already racked up two practise sessions for Sauber this season, has previous experience at Caterham and sponsorship to boot.

      With that many drivers in the wings, de Silvestro might struggle – if Sauber ditched either one of their current drivers, I think that van der Garde would probably be the more likely driver to replace either one of them.

      1. Swiss team with a Swiss driver? I’m sure some companies would be interested in that.

      2. Swiss team with a Swiss driver? I’m sure some companies would be interested in that.

  9. If she does get a drive next year, she might be shocked how rubbish the current generation of Saubers are compared to the C31…

  10. Surprised to see them do a unique livery just for a small trial run. When has that ever been done before? Not including old cars just getting updated to current liveries. Is she bringing an imminent major sponsor to Sauber? One that may have Sauber applying to modifying their race liveries too?

  11. Just want to add something regarding Simona’s 2011 season in Indycar which shows how good she is.

    Her team got a brand new chassis for the year & she started out with an impressive 4th at St.Pete

    During practice at Indy the suspension failed & put her in the wall big time:

    The brand new chassis was written off & the team had to use a much older car from 2003 which was significantly overweight compared to the newer cars.

    A week later she suffered another car failure at Texas, The crash damaged an oil line & caused a fire which resulted in her suffering some burns to her hands as she was trapped in the car for a time:

    After these setbacks still in the old, overweight car which she nicknamed ‘PorkChop’ she went on to have an impressive season, Gaining praise from many veterans of the series. She never got the results she deserved but there were several instances where she had that old car way up towards the front & at least once she deserved a podium but got taken out through no fault of her own.

    She did enough to gain interest from better teams but opted to stick with HVM, Sadly the Lotus engine the team had picked for 2012 was horrendously uncompetitive to the point that every other Lotus team jumped to Honda/Chevrolet.
    However she again impressed everyone with some brilliant performances given how bad the engine was & she again did enough to gain interest from top teams so ended up jumping to KV Racing for 2013.

    In 2013 she scored her 1st podium with a 2nd place at Houston which is a very challenging street circuit. She also had many other good results & finished only 2 spots behind her team mate Tony Kannan (Former series champion & 2013 Indy 500 winner) in the drivers championship.

    Everyone who’s ever worked with Simona in the various teams shes raced for both in Indycar & in the lower series have all rated her very highly. As I said she’s been praised by some of the legends of indycar such as Mario Andretti, Foyt, Rick Mears, Roger Penske to name a few.

    Given a proper opportunity in F1 she will shine I’ve no doubt about that.

    1. PeterG, do you happen to know why she’s not racing this year?

      1. I know that the only offers she got in Indycar required her to bring more funding than she has.

        And I suspect that when she got the F1 offer with Sauber she decided to put 100% of her focus on that.

        There has been some suggestion that she’ll look at running the Indy 500 though.

    2. PeterG, thanks for a great post! I hope she is as good as you say she is because I saw a few features on her and I admire her attitude and determination.

      That second video you posted is a shocking example of ineptitude! Thank heavens for the bravery of the other marshals getting her out.

  12. @PeterG, thanks for a great post! I hope she is as good as you say she is because I saw a few features on her and I admire her attitude and determination.

    That second video you posted is a shocking example of ineptitude! Thank heavens for the bravery of the other marshals getting her out.

    1. You can delete this post, it was supposed to be a reply to the one above. I’m actually really disappointed in my own “ineptitude” ;-)

  13. Is just so good to have women in F1,

  14. that’s the car that got them three podiums isn’t.

  15. The car and the driver look like very nice with these colors.

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