Former IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro has completed her first Formula 1 test with Sauber in Italy ahead of her planned debut next season.
The Swiss driver was confirmed as an affiliate driver at Sauber earlier this year after spending four years in IndyCar. The team stated that the plan was for her to complete enough testing in 2014 to gain an FIA superlicense – mandatory for all F1 drivers – that would allow her to line up on the grid for the team in 2015.
Today, she had her first test at Ferrari’s Fiorano test circuit in Italy using Sauber’s 2012 car, the C31. Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi scored four podium finishes using the car across the course of that season.
The plan is for de Silvestro to sample the team’s 2014 car at a later date this year, most probably during a practice session or in one of the post-race tests. She will then look to complete the necessary mileage to obtain a superlicense and secure a seat with the team in 2015.
de Silvestro is battling with Sergey Sirotkin, Giedo van der Garde, Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil for just two seats with the Swiss team next season. However, the effort that the team is clearly putting into her suggests that the odds are stacked in her favor.
Below is a video of Simona talking about her preparation for the test. It is in German, but English subtitles are available by activating captions.
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.
Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.
“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”
Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.
But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.
Monday was IndyCar team owner Michael Andretti’s 53rd birthday and son Marco was nowhere to be found – but with good reason.
The younger Andretti and Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay were both testing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington, Ohio.
Also taking part in the test was Schmidt Peterson Motorsport’s James Hinchcliffe.
It was Hinchcliffe’s second successful test since recovering from his horrific crash during practice for this year’s Indianapolis 500 in May.
Hinchcliffe’s first test was last week at Road America in Wisconsin.
Monday’s test session was not open to the public or media, but a Honda source told Motorsportstalk that drivers and teams reportedly focused on testing aerodynamics for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.