March 11, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andretti Autosport has named Simona de Silvestro its fourth driver for the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Team owner Michael Andretti said Wednesday he would like to grow a program around de Silvestro that gets the Swiss driver in a full-time ride. For now, she is scheduled only for the March 29 IndyCar opener.

''We are really excited to have Simona come on board with the team for St. Pete,'' Andretti said. ''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.''

She joins a lineup that includes Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, reigning rookie of the year Carlos Munoz, and Marco Andretti.

''It feels really special to have been given this opportunity to drive for them,'' de Silvestro said. ''I also want to thank Michael for believing in me and I can't wait to start working with the team. I am looking forward to get back behind the wheel of an Indy car.''

De Silvestro has 65 career IndyCar starts and finished on the podium at Houston in 2013. She was the 2010 top rookie at the Indianapolis 500, and is one of only three women to have recorded a podium finish in IndyCar.

She spent last year as an affiliated driver with the Sauber Formula One team, but was let go after two tests because of contractual dispute between Sauber and de Silvestro's management team regarding financing.

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