Simona de Silvestro will make a return to the IndyCar Series after securing a last-minute deal to drive a fourth Andretti Autosports entry at the season-opening Grand Prix of St Petersburg. The deal is, at this stage, for one race only.

“I am very excited to be joining Andretti Autosport and to become part of a team with such a successful history,” she said of her one-race deal.

“It feels really special to have been given this opportunity to drive for them. I also want to thank Michael [Andretti, team owner] for believing in me and I can’t wait to start working with the team. Also, I am looking forward to get back behind the wheel of an IndyCar.”

Simona de Silvestro

De Silvestro’s best finish at St Petersburg was a fourth-placed result in 2011; she also finished sixth in 2013 (pictured).

The ‘Swiss Missile’ spent four seasons in the North American open-wheel championship, and became the first woman to finish on the podium at a street course race when she finished second at Houston in 2013 en route to a career-best thirteenth in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

She was signed as an ‘affiliate driver’ with the Sauber F1 Team last year, with the Swiss outfit running a number of private test sessions in a two-year-old Formula 1 car to help fast-track her towards a possible full-time Formula 1 drive.

The deal ended midway through the year when de Silvestro’s backers were unable to continue funding the venture, leaving de Silvestro’s motorsport career in limbo.

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Geoff Burke

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