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De Silvestro's F1 ambitions in jeopardy, Stevens in at Marussia for FP1

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De Silvestro's F1 ambitions in jeopardy, Stevens in at Marussia for FP1
Oct 2, 2014, 4:51 AM

Simona de Silvestro's hopes of becoming F1's first female grand prix racer since 1976 have hit a major stumbling block after Sauber confirmed that...

Simona de Silvestro's hopes of becoming F1's first female grand prix racer since 1976 have hit a major stumbling block after Sauber confirmed that it has ended her testing deal with the team due to "financial reasons on her side".

The Swiss driver joined Sauber as an 'affiliated driver' in February of this year and made her testing debut at Fiorano in April when she completed 112 laps at the wheel of a Sauber C31. She tested again, at Valencia's Ricardo T0rmo circuit, in June. Plans had also been in place for de Silvestro to test at the Circuit of Americas in August as part of her deal as an official training partner of the circuit.

A Sauber spokesperson said: "Simona's driving programme is not being continued due to financial reasons on her side. Everybody in the team who worked with her during the last six months is very disappointed it came to this point, because they liked working with her. We are now looking at other possibilities for Simona to continue working with the team, but that will take time."

The last woman to try and race in Formula One was Italian Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify with Brabham in 1992. The last to race, and only one ever to score (a half point at the shortened Spanish GP of 1975), was Lella Lombardi, whose last race was the Austrian GP of 1976. 

Prior to joining Sauber, 26-year-old de Silvestro had raced in the US IndyCar series for four years. Last year, she scored a podium finish with second place in the first race of a double-header in Houston, Texas.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 04.45.50

Elsewhere, former Caterham test driver Will Stevens has swapped Leafield for Banbury and will drive for Marussia during FP1 in Suzuka tomorrow.

The 23-year-old took part in the Silverstone test in July for Caterham and until recently was a regular in the team's simulator but in the wake of the team's restructuring, Stevens, who currently lies sixth in the Renault 3.5 series title standings, has split with Leafield squad.
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Series Formula 1
Teams Sauber