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.