Sauber’s de Silvestro signing puts its 2014 drivers on notice

2 Comments

Simona de Silvestro’s signing as a Sauber-affiliated driver for 2014 is already the first domino in the 2015 Formula One silly season.

Put simply, her signing puts Sauber’s two 2014 race drivers Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez already on notice.

Sutil will enter his seventh season this season and first with Sauber, Gutierrez his second. The German has been a serviceable midfielder his last three seasons with Force India, while Gutierrez showed some promise at times during his rookie campaign with Sauber this year.

The inter-team battle between these two will be fascinating to watch, because the Monisha Kaltenborn-led team has a deep pool in reserve.

If you were to make up a projected depth chart, de Silvestro would be third behind team reserve Giedo van der Garde and Russian Sergey Sirotkin, who is a confirmed test driver.

Van der Garde has the most experience in Formula One machinery and is the only one with Grands Prix under his belt. Sirotkin has the potential to bring in a Russian sponsorship package and will no doubt improve with a year’s worth of racing experience in the World Series by Renault.

Don’t underestimate the potential of Ferrari’s role in this, either. Ferrari has been a consistent partner with Sauber on-and-off since 1997 (excluding the BMW Sauber years), and de Silvestro and Ferrari have a connection from the announcement she would race in at least one weekend of the new Ferrari winter series.

If de Silvestro makes it into Formula One in 2015, she’d be the first female driver entered on a race weekend since Italian Giovanna Amati in 1992. Amati failed to qualify in her three starts for the Brabham team.

The last female driver to qualify for a Grand Prix was the late Lella Lombardi at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix; Lombardi is also the only female to score in the World Championship, with a half point achieved for sixth place in the shortened 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuich Park.

Five drivers: Lombardi, Amati, Maria Teresa de Filippis, Divina Galica and Desire Wilson, have participated in a Grand Prix weekend. Susie Wolff has also tested for Williams in recent years; the late Maria de Villota was a test driver for Marussia before her tragic 2012 accident.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”