Simona de Silvestro’s F1 hopes at risk due to financial problems

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Simona de Silvestro’s hopes of becoming the first female Formula 1 driver to start a grand prix in almost forty years have been dashed after it was confirmed today her current testing deal has been terminated.

De Silvestro, formerly of IndyCar, had been working with Sauber F1 Team as an ‘affiliate driver’ with the view to getting a full-time seat with the team in 2015.

As part of this role, the Swiss driver has been testing in a three-year old car, and had agreed a deal with the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas to use the circuit in the future to prepare for Formula 1 and gain an FIA super licence.

She had been in a very open fight for a seat at Sauber, who also has Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutierrez, Giedo van der Garde and Sergey Sirotkin on the team’s books and vying for a full-time drive in 2015.

However, Sauber has confirmed today that her testing plans have been cancelled due to “financial reasons”.

“Simona’s driving programme is not being continued due to financial reasons on her side,” a spokesperson from the team confirmed. “Everybody in the team who worked with her during the last six months is very disappointed it came to this point, because they liked working with her.

“We are now looking at other possibilities for Simona to continue working with the team, but that will take time.”

Although de Silvestro’s testing plans have been cancelled, she is still a part of the team, retaining the role of ‘affiliate driver’. If her financial situation can be resolved quickly enough to give her the chance to resume her programme, she may be back in the running for the seat.

For the time being though, this news will act as a bitter blow to those hoping to see de Silvestro racing in Formula 1 next year.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”