Date: 28th April 2014 at 10:34am
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Simona De Silvestro has made her Formula One debut behind the wheel of a two-year-old Sauber C31 at the Ferrari test track in Fiorano.

Back in February Sauber named Simona De Silvestro as their ‘affiliated’ driver for the coming season, with hopes that she might make the grid by 2015.

She becomes the second active woman in Formula One this season with 31-year-old Scottish driver Susie Wolff set to become only the second British woman to take part in a Formula One Grand Prix weekend following in the footsteps of Divina Galica in 1976/78, Wolff is scheduled to get behind the wheel for two practice sessions during the forthcoming Formula One World Championship season, with the most likely being the British and German Grands Prix.

If that does happen Wolff will become the first woman to be involved in Formula One since Italian Giovanna Amati in 1992.

But whilst Wolff’s involvement thus far is only as a test driver, the aim with 25-year-old Swiss De Silvestro is to earn her super licence and prepare for a potential race seat in Formula One next season.

If that happens she will become the fourth female to race in Formula One.

Only three women have raced in Grand Prix racing, although officially only Maria Teresa de Filippis and Lella Lombardi count as Desire Wilson’s race in South Africa was not included in the championship in 1981.

Lella Lombardi earned half a championship point in 1975 when she finished sixth in a shortened Spanish Grand Prix.

?Although it?s something very special to drive a Formula One car, I was not too nervous in the morning, 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. she told formula1.com.

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.

De Silvestro has spent four seasons in the IndyCar Series, starting 65 races, with the highest championship position of 13th coming last season.

In October she became the third woman in history to stand on the podium in IndyCar following in the footsteps of NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher.

She concluded: ?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.?

De Silvestro’s is set for a second test with the same car in Valencia towards the end of June.