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Sauber names IndyCar's de Silvestro affiliated driver with F1 2015 goal

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HINWIL, Switzerland (AP)

Simona de Silvestro will be an affiliated driver with Sauber this year with a goal of competing for a Formula One seat in 2015.

''Simona's ambition is to enter Formula one in 2015,'' Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said. ''We regard her as a very talented race driver, and we, therefore, decided to take her on board as an `affiliated driver' and support her on her way to the pinnacle of motorsport.''

The Swiss driver has spent the last four years racing in IndyCar, and scored her first career podium in October with a second-place finish at Houston. It was the first podium finish for a woman on a road course in IndyCar.

The 25-year-old will spend 2014 testing, participating in simulator training and preparing for the mental and physical demands of F1. Sauber says the goal is to help de Silvestro earn her F1 super license and prepare for a seat in 2015.

She thanked Sauber for giving her a chance.

''This is a major step toward me achieving a lifelong dream, and I'm so happy to have the opportunity to take this step with such a great team,'' de Silvestro said. ''The Sauber F1 Team is a team with a legacy and the only Swiss team in Formula One, which I think makes this even more exciting.''

De Silvestro moved to the United States at 18 to drive in the Formula BMW USA series in 2006. She competed for the Atlantic Championship from 2007 to 2009, and was in IndyCar in 2010.

She won the Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year award in 2010.

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