Indy 500 reality replaces her F1 dream

Sat May 23, 2015 7:32pm EDT
 
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By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Simona De Silvestro had planned to be racing in Monaco on Sunday, but with her Formula One dreams on hold, it is back to IndyCar reality for the Swiss driver and another run for Indianapolis 500 glory.

After four years of sometimes pioneering work on the IndyCar circuit, De Silvestro decided last year to try and break more new ground, signing a testing deal with Swiss based F1 team Sauber as she set her sites on becoming the first woman to start a grand prix since 1976.

Already the first woman to finish on the podium at an IndyCar street race, De Silvestro was considered the woman most likely to join the men on the starting grid in the near future.

But like most drivers, De Silvestro's ambitions are fueled by cash and when her sponsorship ran out, so did her brief time in Formula One.

"For sure it would have been good to get a chance to drive Monaco, the dream is still there but if it's going to happen I don't know," De Silvestro told Reuters. "My Formula One experience was great, it is really special to drive one of those cars and I am lucky to have driven one now.

"But that's racing today. It depends on lot of money, a lot of sponsorship and (it) didn't quite work out like I wanted to, but maybe this gave me a chance to race for Michael (Andretti) now."

When the Formula One door slammed shut, another opened for the 26-year-old Swiss with Andretti Autosport as she signed a part-time deal with the IndyCar glamour team that Danica Patrick once called home.

De Silvestro will be part of a five-car Andretti entry that includes last year's winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and she will have her best chance of reaching Victory Lane, qualifying a career best 18th.   Continued...

 
Simona de Silvestro of Switzerland sits on the pit lane wall smiling during a practice session prior to qualifications at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana in this file photo taken on May 18, 2013. REUTERS/Brent Smith