The 25-year-old Swiss driver, who is undergoing an F1 preparation programme at Sauber with a 2015 race seat in mind, used the opportunity to become familiar with the specifics of a Formula One car and according to the team was able to improve constantly during the day.
“Although it’s something very special to drive a Formula One car, I was not too nervous in the morning,” said De Silvestro. “I was more focused on what my job would be. But, after completing the installation lap, I realised that this was my first lap in a Formula One car, and that this was something really special.
“What impressed me most was the downforce of the car and the braking. When I did my first lap the brakes were cold, but even then the decelaration was beyond what I had experienced before. The g-forces are significantly higher compared to what I was used to in IndyCar.
“Overall, I’m happy with my first day in a Formula One car. I concentrated mainly on understanding the tyres and finding out how to get the best out of them. And with every outing I learned more about the behaviour of the car. I can feel now where there is more potential and how I can use it. Physically I feel quite good, which is definitely a result of my preparation in recent months. I have been training really hard and this paid off.”
Sauber test engineer Paul Russell was clearly impressed with De Silvestro’s first outing, commenting: “Simona did a very solid job today. It was immediately clear that she is an experienced driver. It was as good a start in a Formula One car as you could hope for, and you couldn’t really ask for more today.”
De Silvestro will continue testing with Sauber at Fiorano on Sunday.