With news breaking this morning that Simona de Silvestro will not be affiliated with the Sauber F1 team anymore, we looks at her options, and whether or not the funding is still in place to get back in a race seat.
Simona de Silvestro was on her way up the IndyCar ranks last season. Not skyrocketing to the front of the pack, but making steady strides to the podium.
Then all of a sudden, a great opportunity was presented to her. Or purchased for her. Nobody really knows the details exactly, but in today’s day and age of pay drivers I am almost certain that her sponsor Entergy, or Nuclear or whomever was funding this test, or affiliated driver endeavor.
In April, her Sauber opportunity finally got wheels on track. At Fiorano, de Silvestro turned hundreds of laps in a Sauber C31 from 2012, and it was painted up in the colours of her sponsors. That was my first clue that this wasn’t your typical 'test driver to race driver' deal.
One hit wonder
After that test, everything went quiet. The only thing scheduled was a second test at COTA, slated for early August.
That never happened.
I would absolutely be in fear to know what was spent on this ‘opportunity,' because her backers cannot have unlimited funds. Could this be the end of her open wheel pay driver career?
Do these backers have the money to continue to fund her career? Is there a team out there who, fingers crossed, can actually pay a good driver to be on their team?
Racers are going to race
Racers are going to race. It is engrained in their psyche, and de Silvestro is no different than the rest of them. She is going to find somewhere to race…but where will that be?
In my mind I think the best route would be back to IndyCar. That could also be the toughest. Providing she has the backing still, it might not be as tough, but with only a certain number of cars and teams on the grid and all the silly season moves falling into place…she might be at least another season from wiggling her way back into the American open wheel series.
DTM is always an option, but that series too has a rather tight knit community, but with teams trying to incentivize women getting behind the wheel and a little bit of sponsor money, that is a legitimate option for the young Swiss driver.
My last guess, and the most likely in the short term would be ending up on a multi-driver sports car team in the WEC or a similar series. With the influx of gentlemen drivers with mixed skills, some are questioning the need for more professional drivers in lineups. de Silvestro is easily that professional and talented driver who can spice up just about any of the current lineups in sports car racing.