Simona de Silvestro will return to the Verizon IndyCar Series with a one-race deal putting her in a fourth Andretti Autosport entry for the season opener at St Petersburg at the end of March.

"I am very excited to be joining Andretti Autosport and to become part of a team with such a successful history," said de Silvestro. "It feels really special to have been given this opportunity to drive for them.

"I am looking forward to get back behind the wheel of an IndyCar," said the 26-year-old. She last competed in the open wheel series in 2013, when she achieved her first podium position by finishing in second place in Houston with KV Racing Technology. making her one of only three women to have done so alongside Sarah Fisher and Danica Patrick.

Related Articles

"I also want to thank Michael for believing in me and I can't wait to start working with the team," added de Silvestro, referring to Andretti Autosport team principal Michael Andretti.

"We are really excited to have Simona come on board with the team for St. Pete," Andretti responded. "She will be a great fit for the team, and hopefully we'll be able to build on the program, eventually taking it from this race to future events and maybe even a full-season relationship.

"Fans should stay connected with the team to hear more about our potential future with Simona," he added.

De Silvestro competed in Formula Renault 2.0 Italia, Formula BMW USA and the Atlantic Championship prior to moving to IndyCar full time in 2010 in the single-car HVM Racing team. She had has 65 IndyCar starts under her belt, and as well as her podium finish she has alo achieved five laps led and 14 top-ten finishes along. She was the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and Tony Renna Rising Star award recipient.

De Silvestro spent last season as an affiliated driver with the Sauber F1 team, but her association with the team ended in October amid reports of financial problems for the team, and contractual troubles between the two parties.

De Silvestro will be part of a four-car Andretti line-up for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29, alongside 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Carlos Munoz. Also part of the team line-up is veteran racer Marco Andretti, who will begin his 10th season of Verizon IndyCar Series racing.

De Silvestro will head to pre-season testing with the Indianapolis-based outfit, which will be held next week at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Among the new developments that de Silvestro will be getting used to following her year away from the series is the introduction of new bespoke aero kits provided by the team's engine manufacturer Honda.