Crash.net
Simona, first of all, what do you think about Ecclestone's proposal of an all-female racing series?

Simona de Silvestro
It's interesting. But I think it's not the way to go. Personally, I've shown that I can be as fast as the guys, or even faster. The biggest thing for a female is to get a chance in Formula One, then they'll decide if we can do it or not.

Crash.net
You had the same problem yourself with Sauber. Was it just an economic issue?

Simona de Silvestro
Yes. In F1 - and everywhere in racing - it's the same story: sponsorship makes the difference. As a driver that's a big focus you have to lay on. You have to work really hard, to try to secure those sponsors and to actually create your chance to be driving somewhere.

Crash.net
Actually, people would think that being a female driver, with all the media coverage involved, would help you finding sponsors.

Simona de Silvestro
I think so. But the biggest issue, most of the times, is going to the sponsors and not being really able to guarantee the drive, because the team wants to see the money first. It can work out only if both sides want to find the solution at the same moment. Otherwise there is no guarantee to find a seat, because in F1 there are only twenty places, and the teams aren't wealthy enough to give a chance to the drivers.

Crash.net
Sauber had their fair share of troubles with Giedo van der Garde as well...

Simona de Silvestro
Yeah. I think they promised a lot of things to a lot of people.

Crash.net
Looking back, what do you think about your experience with them as a test driver last year?

Simona de Silvestro
As a driver, it was a positive experience. I got the chance to drive a Formula One car: that's very special and not many drivers get to do this. For sure it would have been nice to be racing, because I think I would have had the speed to be running at the same level of most of the others. But, as I said, sponsorship is the key. At the time, this was the thing to do for me. And you never know: if I hadn't done this, maybe I wouldn't have had the chance to drive for Andretti. At the end of the day, you make decisions: sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't. But you have to take the positive out of it.

Crash.net
Is it easier to find sponsorships in IndyCar Series?

Simona de Silvestro
In general, motorsport costs a lot of money. I've been lucky to be working with Andretti, but to be honest I started working on this pretty late last year, so it has been a difficult situation as well. But the money an IndyCar team needs is not as much as a Formula One team.

Crash.net
US racing, compared to F1, also has a proven track record of competitive female drivers.

Simona de Silvestro
When Danica Patrick raced in IndyCar she did quite well. She was given the opportunity to be in a good team right away and she showed what she could do. She got the shot at the right moment: that's the biggest thing. If I got a chance in Formula One, I think I would have done the same.

Crash.net
In your experience, is there any difference - physically or mentally - between men and women when it comes to racing?

Simona de Silvestro
I never experienced any difference. I have been lucky enough to be on the podium and competitive in pretty much every series I raced in. Maybe you have to work out and prepare a little bit differently, but I never felt that I couldn't drive a Formula One car or an IndyCar as well as the boys.

Crash.net
Motorsport is one of the few sports where men and women can compete against one another.

Simona de Silvestro
That's how I look at racing. It has always been like this and it should be like this in the future, as well. You can't tell the difference between a girl and a boy, when they wear a helmet.

Crash.net
Is your F1 experience over or will you try to have another shot?

Simona de Silvestro
It's difficult to say, you never know what can happen in the future. But right now I have a great opportunity to be in IndyCar with one of the best teams. For me it's important to be racing, that's what I love and what I want to do.

Crash.net
Before the Bahrain Grand Prix, a charity criticised Hamilton for spraying champagne into a hostess' face on the podium in China. They said "motor racing appears to unnecessarily portray women as sexualised objects". Do you share their opinion?

Simona de Silvestro
Definitely motorsport is dominated by men. That's why in the past not many women have been involved, either competing or working on the cars. But there are more and more. Times are changing and as a woman you have to show that you can do the job as well as the guys.

by Fabrizio Corgnati