Zee Media Bueau/Jayanta Oinam
In a sport believed to be the last bastion of man and machine, the very mention of a female driver as a challenger was often considered worthy of rebuttal. However, in the last couple of years, the arrival of the fairer sex in the sport has been welcomed.
In this line, one of the more respected Formula One outfits, Sauber has roped in Simona de Silvestro as an affiliate driver. The 25-year-old Swiss driver will be actively involved in the Zurich-based team`s preparation for 2015 F1 season.
De Silvestro has earlier competed in Formula BMW USA, the Atlantic Championship, Indycar Series and Indianapolis 500 with limited success. In 2010, the Iron Maiden of motorsport won the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award in her first season.
Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal, confirming the hiring said that, “after four years in IndyCar, Simona`s ambition is to enter Formula One in 2015.” The Indian-born boss, who is also the only female to lead a F1 team, added that “the team regard Simona as a very talented race driver, therefore have decided to support her on her way to the pinnacle of motorsport.”
Besides Simona, Susie Wolff is the lone woman driver currently involved in the highest class of single-seater auto racing. The 31-year-old British driver joined Williams as a test and development driver with Williams in 2012.
Last October, the sporting world was shocked with the death of another female F1 driver, Maria de Villota. The daughter of former F1 driver, Emilio de Villota, was a leading motorsport figure in Spain. She was recuperating from a serious injury sustained during an accident while testing as a Marussia test driver in 2012.