Paretta Autosport’s historic appearance at the Indianapolis 500 might have ended at Simona De Silvestro’s final pit stop but the team more than proved it belonged in the show.
The first female-owned and primarily-run team earned the final spot on the grid a week ago, bumping two other entries, and was then moving forward in the race as De Silvestro climbed to 21st place before her final stop. However, the No. 16 entry became the fourth car to lock its rear wheels braking for the pit limiter — following Stefan Wilson, Will Power and Scott McLaughlin — and its day finished 31 laps short.
“We had actually a really good run going — I felt really speedy out there and we were passing a lot of cars, so it was quite good,” said De Silvestro. “But coming down pit road we just had no brakes really — it wouldn’t slow down and all of a sudden it locked up the rears.
“I’ve seen it happen in the past, I never thought it would happen to me but it actually did happen to me. I’m really sorry to the team because they’ve worked so hard and to be honest it’s pretty disappointing to finish like this after the month we’ve had.
“I think there’s always things to learn, for me as well. I haven’t been here for so long; those are the things I can maybe also do a little bit differently. So from that point of view a bit disappointed but I’m glad we were here and just amazing to be at the Speedway again.”
The predominantly-female pit crew carried out its first live IndyCar pit stops during the race and the veteran of six starts at the Brickyard says working with the team was a special feeling.
“It’s definitely different because in any racing series I’ve never had so many women around me and it’s kind of cool. Everyone is super-motivated, everyone has done an amazing job over the last four months. They’ve worked so hard and they really deserved as well to be over the pit wall. So I was really proud of them — they’ve showed that they can do it and hopefully we get more chances to showcase that. Any opportunity we will take it.”
While the final result was less than she might have hoped for, team owner Beth Paretta felt everything that happened after the green was a bit of a bonus after the effort that went into putting the project together, and she says the team will be back.
“We could maybe improve a little bit of consistency on the stops but probably we surprised a lot of people today and that is what we wanted to do,” Paretta said. “You can see that we can all work hard together and deserve our place on pit lane.
“It was better than I expected — it was a victory even at the green flag because of how hard everyone worked to get here. For many years everybody’s had maybe a curious path to get here. This is a team of women who worked hard — women and men, to be fair — and so we’re just happy to be in the race. This is racing — this is what happens and hopefully we’ll give it another shot to be out here.”