De Silvestro's Sauber deal breaks down
Simona de Silvestro's hopes of becoming the first female F1 racer since 1976 have suffered a setback after Sauber ended her testing deal due to "financial reasons on her side".
- Lella Lombardi was the last woman to start a grand prix, with the last of her career coming in 1976 in Austria. Since then Divina Galica, Desire Wilson, Giovanna Amati and, most recently, Susie Wolff have all taken part in a grand prix weekend but not qualified for a race.
It was hoped De Silvestro, who spent four years racing in Indycar, would take part in Friday practice at next month's US Grand Prix, but a financial dispute with Sauber means she will no longer drive for the team. De Silvestro will retain her status as an affiliated driver, however, with the team still hopeful of giving her opportunities to drive at some point in the future.
De Silvestro completed tests earlier this year in old Sauber cars in Fiorano and Valencia after joining in February and has made it clear she has her eyes set on a 2015 race seat. But the 90-day window in which her superlicence could be secured has now expired, leaving her F1 future hanging in the balance.
A team spokesman 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."
A spokesman also told ESPNF1 De Silvestro's role will be "discussed in the near future" as it remains unclear.