de Silvestro completes first F1 test for Sauber

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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.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.