Simona de Silvestro confirmed she is targeting a place on the Formula 1 grid next season after beginning her testing program with Sauber.
The Swiss former IndyCar racer recently completed two days of running in a two-year old Sauber C31 at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track. She will test the car again for three days at Valencia at the end of June and told reporters in the Spanish Grand Prix paddock on Friday that she is focused on turning her role into a race seat for next season.
“Racing next year is the goal,” de Silvestro said. “There’s still a long road ahead, but if I do everything correctly and show good pace in the race car I don’t see why not.
“The sponsors I have on the C31 are sponsors I’ve had since 2008 with the cleaner energy campaign. They’ve always known F1 is my ultimate goal and they’re helping me try to get there.”
De Silvestro, who finished second in the Houston IndyCar race for KV Racing last year, admitted she has yet to earn the Superlicense required to drive the current Sauber on grands prix weekends, but hopes to put that right in the near future.
“Yeah, I think there are possibilities,” she added, when asked whether there were opportunities to drive this year’s C33. “All the goals we have set so far have been achieved, so hopefully in the near future that will happen.”
LEAVING INDYCAR “EASY CHOICE”
De Silvestro said she had also decided to forego the chance to race in another category this season, in order to focus on her F1 commitments.
“That was the debate we were having on what to do this year,” she added. “[But] what is difficult about F1 is understanding how everything works.
“Luckily for me I’m having quite a bit of testing in an F1 car, and right now that’s more valuable than actually racing. It is a risk to leave my career in the U.S., but since I was a small girl I’ve always wanted this. It was actually a pretty easy choice because this chance only comes once in life and you have to take it.
“I don’t think about not racing, I’m thinking about doing everything right and getting in the racecar.”