F1: Simona De Silvestro to chase Formula 1 dream with Sauber
"Simona has been of a very unique sponsorship and educational platform for a number of years, with the emphasis on sustainability and environmental care in a global sense," said Imran Safiulla, who manages de Silvestro's career and business development interests. "We will follow this announcement with news of the commercial efforts behind Simona's exciting new plans, which we also feel will bring more fresh air to the sport."
Based on her performances in the Atlantic Championship and the IndyCar Series, de Silvestro should have no problems earning her Super License. The biggest hurdle will likely be found on the sponsorship front. With 8-figure budgets now required, many F1 hopefuls have struggled to find a place on the grid, and until both boxes are ticked, the only thing de Silvestro can count in is a busy year of testing a Sauber F1 car.
"There's always a risk when you make a bold move like this, but this is a mitigated one," added Safiulla, who is tasked with securing the budget for a race seat in 2015. "Going through this process will add to her development; she'll learn more by the end of this 12-month journey she's about to take than if she's just kept doing what she was doing. We're going into this believing everything will come together, and we know she has the talent and dedication to compete in Formula 1."
De Silvestro will undoubtedly face questions and scrutiny from the regarding her gender from the notoriously jaded F1 press corps. Unlike many other female drivers, de Silvestro has never used her unique position as a woman racing against men as a promotional tool or crutch. Whether that message—a non-message, to be more accurate—is received on her return to racing in Europe will be a theme to follow in the months ahead.
"Credibility has been a big part of this project coming together; the timing has been favorable with her IndyCar performances last year, and at 25, it's the right time in her life and with her experience level," Safiulla explained. "We've always positioned her as a driver, not about her gender, and that's not going to change.
"And today, with where Formula 1 is headed technologically, Simona has an established credibility with her driving talent and is also known as one of the most active, connected drivers within the world of sustainable and renewable energy. Everyone here feels she's ready for this challenge, and she also has the support of an industry that believes in her. Now it's time to get moving."
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