The Sauber F1 Team has appointed IndyCar racer Simona de Silvestro as an “affiliated driver” for the 2014 Formula 1 season.

The Swiss racer is the highest profile open-wheel female racing driver in the world, having shown impressive speed in last year’s IndyCar Series season, peaking with a well-earned second place at the Houston Grand Prix.

De Silvestro has been competing in the United States since her late teens and has been racing full-time in the IndyCar Series since 2010.

Simona de SilvestroHer involvement with Sauber will see her take part in a number of track test sessions to qualify for her FIA Superlicense as part of preparation for a Grand Prix race seat next year.

“This is a major step towards me achieving a life-long dream and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to take this step with such a great team,” de Silvestro said of the announcement.

“The Sauber F1 Team is a team with a legacy and the only Swiss team in Formula 1, which I think makes this even more exciting. I can’t thank [Sauber team principal] Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber enough for their support and belief in my abilities and for giving me this chance.”

“Simona’s ambition is to enter Formula 1 in 2015. We regard her as a very talented race driver, and we, therefore, decided to take her on board as an “affiliated driver” and support her on her way to the pinnacle of motorsport,” Kaltenborn added.

With de Silvestro’s seat at the KV Racing Technology team seemingly having been taken over by Sebastian Saavedra, it’s understood that she will continue to race in the series this year, returning to Europe as her schedule allows to work with Sauber.

Images via Motorsport.com and Speed Week

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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