Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Slight Setbacks for Simona

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted January 15, 2010 at 11:16 am IndyCar, open wheel racing news

Atlantic Championship standout Simona De Silvestro is hoping to make the move to the prestigious IndyCar series in 2010.  She completed her first IndyCar test with HVM Racing in December and by all reports she did quite well in her inaugural outing. Regardless of her performance and success behind the wheel it would appear, at least for the time being, that her entry into the IndyCar series will be delayed.

This morning Curt Cavin, of the IndyStar, reported:

Atlantics product Simona de Silvestro, who recently tested with HVM Racing, has been told she must compete in some Firestone Indy Lights races and test an IndyCar on an oval track before she is allowed to drive such a car on an oval. She has no oval-track experience.

I don’t think anyone expected her to jump into IndyCar oval competition without extensive testing but adding a requirement to run a few Indy Lights races seems a bit much.  I can think of a few drivers who were allowed to make the jump to IndyCar without any time in Lights or at least a significant amount of single-seater experience.  Simona has certainly proved herself behind the wheel of a racecar and I think it would be a shame if she were denied entry into the 2010 IndyCar series (should the funding fall into place).  That said, I’m all for proper development and safety.  If the IRL officials give her an appropriate oval evaluation— in an IndyCar— and feel that she’s not ready, then perhaps she should be forced to run a few Indy Lights races.  Until that evaluation is done properly, I think it’s a bit soon to require her to run Lights.

What do you think?



  1. Andy on January 15, 2010 11:38 am

    I wonder if she’ll do as well in her mandatory Indy Lights races as Robert Doornbos and Mike Conway did in theirs?

    Oh, wait…

  2. Ian on January 15, 2010 11:41 am

    I’m wondering if this would have to do with Politics more than anything…Danica is in my opinion a mediocre driver and I feel that Simona could do better than her by the end of the 2010 indycar season if all goes according to plan…I’m thinking that indycar has such a good publicity and marketing deal with Danica that they think Simona could possibly ruin it for them…just my thoughts.

  3. The Speedgeek on January 16, 2010 8:12 am

    Drives with no oval single seat experience? Surely you jest…

    Oh, uh, that’d be the aforementioned Bob Doorknobs and Mike Conway, plus a couple of high profile ladies…

    It’s kind of too bad, but I see where the League is coming from. It’s probably not a bad idea for _Simona_ to get some good oval testing in, too. There’s not much point in having her go out there for a race at, say, Kansas with 45 degrees of wing bolted on, running 15 MPH off the pace, just for the sake of getting mileage. Though I suppose THAT wouldn’t be the first time for that, either…

  4. Edward on January 18, 2010 2:52 pm

    My feelings are mixed.

    On the one hand, to tell Simona De Silvestro that she can’t run IndyCars yet-emphasis on yet-while allowing other drivers with less oval experience-Mike Conway, Mario Moraes and E.J. Viso, for example, raced in British Formula 3 and GP2-are allowed to race seems wrong. However, we don’t know the true reasoning why so anything we say is speculation and opinion.

    Having said that, IndyCar owns the sandbox and they have the right to decide who plays in it. Whether that makes sense to those of us on the outside is a non-issue.

  5. Steve Marshall on January 19, 2010 11:09 am

    Wow. I also wonder if they want her to look like a “graduate” of indy lights to make the series actually have a graduate enter into the IRL.

    Lately, there have been many more atlantic drivers being successful and moving up and that is with severly diminished car counts. Oh well, just hope Simona is not held back in any other way.

    She is a great driver. Consistent and fast, able to pull out killer qualifying laps just like summerton, edwards. They all battled just like Bourdais vs allmendinger vs power did for a little bit.

  6. smithlara on January 22, 2010 8:52 am

    Simona De Silvestro is a great driver if IndyCars doesn’t allow her to drive then they are not doing right thing with such a seniour and experience women.

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