Simona De Silvestro`s hopes of becoming the first woman to race in Formula One since 1976 have hit the skids due to financial difficulties.
The Sauber team said they had ended their testing deal with the 26-year-old Swiss, who had targeted a race seat in 2015, 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," a spokesman for the Swiss-based team said.
Cash-strapped Sauber, who are seeking investors, are suffering their worst-ever season in Formula One and are yet to score a point, their plight underlined by the need for drivers to bring funding into the team.
Hence the decision by the Swiss-based outfit to drop De Silvestro after her American backers failed to raise more money.
De Silvestro, who spent four years in the US IndyCar series and scooped the 2010 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year award, was being groomed by Sauber, testing an older model Sauber F1 car in April before testing again in Valencia.
The last woman to get close to racing in Formula One was Italian Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify with Brabham in 1992. The last female driver to race, and the only one ever to score, was fellow Italian Lella Lombardi in 1976.
Britain`s Susie Wolff has driven in free practice sessions for Williams this year.