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.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.