Simona de Silvestro is set to be announced as the KV Racing Technology team’s newest signing for the 2013 IndyCar Series.
The 24-year-old has completed three seasons in the IndyCar Series with the one-car HVM Racing squad, and he stock rose after a string of solid road and street course performances over the the 2010 and 2011 seasons, including a fine fourth-placed finish at the 2011 St Petersburg season-opener.
The 2012 season was meant to be a rebirth for the ‘Swiss Missile’, and she was the headline driver picked to front Lotus’ first season in the series as an engine supplier.
Not only was the entire project late in arriving, it was also well short of the investment it desperately needed to make it a competitive prospect against rival engine builders, Chevrolet and Honda.
The Lotus engine was simply gutless, and the handful of other teams who joined the Lotus program quickly sought to abandon ship, while HVM plugged away for the rest of the season with this useless lump bolted to their Dallara chassis.
It was considered an outstanding performance if she managed to qualify off the back row of the grid, and at most oval races, she was parked by race officials because of the massive power deficit she was giving away to the rest of the field.
Nonetheless, she was never publically critical of the project and just got on with the job when the engine held together for long enough. Incredibly, she managed two top-fifteen finishes, but it was a result that was woefully short of what her talents deserved.
There had been rumours that the deal would be a jointly-run effort with her current employer, HVM, but it now seems that her move is in fact a clean break from the Keith Wiggins-run team.
This therefore means that she will come in as a replacement for either EJ Viso or Rubens Barrichello, who is believed to be off to Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports next year, while the crash-prone Viso is believed to be forming his own team in partnership with Bryan Herta Autosports.
The de Silvestro deal will, most importantly, allow her to escape from the Lotus project and get a hold of the more powerful Chevrolet engine used by KV Racing, as well as work alongside a highly-talented team-mate in the form of Tony Kanaan.
According to preliminary reports, her deal will come with the support of long-time backer Nuclear Clean Air Energy.
Her switch to KV Racing will be confirmed when the team unveils her in the car at an off-season test session at Barber Motorsport Park.