Simona De Silvestro has been announced as a Sauber F1 affiliated driver. (Photo: LAT Photographic)

has been announced as a F1 affiliated driver. (Photo: LAT Photographic)

Simona De Silvestro has become an “affiliated driver” of Sauber, and the team says it plans to prepare her for a race seat in 2015.

The 25-year-old Swiss has competed in the IndyCar series for the past four seasons.

Sauber explained “she is taking the next step in her career by joining a preparation program with the Sauber F1 Team, with the goal to gain her super licence and prepare for a race seat in Formula One for 2015. The program will include on track testing, simulator training, as well as mental and physical preparation.”

Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said: “After four years in IndyCar, Simona’s ambition is to enter Formula one in 2015. 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.”

De Silvestro added: “This is a major step towards me achieving a life-long dream and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to take this step with such a great team. 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. I can’t thank Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber enough for their support and belief in my abilities and for giving me this chance. I’m thrilled to have this extremely unique platform on which to prepare myself to take on the challenge.”