When she was young, Simona de Silvestro’s future looked to include anything but motorsports, especially because racing had been banned in her native Switzerland since 1955.
But de Silvestro excelled at every sport she’s played growing up. She won her first ski race when she was 3 years old, was a top regional fencer and played championship youth tennis. So it wasn’t a surprise that she took to racing quickly, winning her first kart race.
"When I was a baby, my dad says I was quiet only when I watched Formula 1 on TV," she said. "When I was 4, he did a go-kart demonstration, but I couldn't reach the pedals, so I cried the whole day. By the time I was 9 or 10, I knew that racing was what I wanted to do, and my whole life has been about it. Driving open-wheel race cars has always been my goal. I really never had anything else in my head."
De Silvestro spent her early career honing her racing skills in European karting and junior formula series while racing under the Italian flag. In 2006, she crossed the Atlantic Ocean to pursue her open-wheel racing dreams.
From success in the Formula BMW USA championship and the Atlantic Championship, de Silvestro joined the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2010 and was runner-up in Rookie of the Year standings.