De Silvestro has alternative energy millions powering Formula 1 campaign 30 April, 2014 Simona de Silvestro during F1 testing at Fiorano A big player in the alternative energy industry, including nuclear power, is behind Simona Silvestro’s push for a Sauber race seat in Formula 1 with the 2015 being targeted for her full grand prix debut. That is the claim of the Blick newspaper, as it revealed some of the secrets behind the 25-year-old female driver’s recent Formula 1 test debut at Fiorano. Former Indycar driver de Silvestro is now an affiliated driver of the Hinwil based Formula 1 team, and she got her duties started over two days last weekend at Sauber engine supplier Ferrari‘s private test circuit in Italy. Sauber has confirmed that she will be back in action in the two-year-old car at Valencia in June. And that is not all. Blick said de Silvestro’s 2014 campaign will total no fewer than 10 full test days, including a trip in August to the United States Grand Prix venue in Austin. (L to R) James Caruthers, Keith Wiggins, driver Simona de Silvestro and Imran Safiulla stand next to the HVM Racing team’s car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway So what is powering arguably one of the most comprehensive driver testing programmes seen in Formula 1 for some years? Renewable energy. We reported this week that the man fronting the project is Imran Safiulla, a wealthy Indian industrialist who even bought into de Silvestro’s Indycar employer, KV. Now, he has bought the use of a two-year-old Sauber and the Swiss team’s time and resources, and has even liveried the C31 in bespoke white, blue and green colours. Among the ‘Clean Air Energy’ and ‘Hybrid’ decals seen on the car at Fiorano were the names of some key companies. One was Entergy, a New Orleans-based electric power company that operates more than 40 power plants, including nuclear ones. Another is Areva, a French multinational and the world’s largest nuclear company. Nico Hulkenberg with Simona De Silvestro Blick estimates the cost of de Silvestro’s 2014 Sauber campaign at more than $3 million. “It is a programme in collaboration with Sauber that we are paying for,” Safiulla, also de Silvestro’s manager, confirmed. “So the (livery of the) car is designed according to my wishes.” “We want to show the advantages of clean energy and how it can be associated with mobility,” he explained. “The future of the motor car is hybrid, which is exactly what Formula 1 is doing (with its new regulations) now,” Safiulla added. Blick said Safiulla’s obvious goal is to have de Silvestro on the grid in 2015, but three conditions must first be met. First, she must obtain a mandatory super license, and then de Silvestro’s sponsors will need to come up with about $25 million to pay for the seat. Finally, she will have to displace Sauber’s existing sponsored drivers, including the Mexican-backed Esteban Gutierrez, the ‘rescue deal’-linked Sergey Sirotkin and the McGregor-sponsored Dutchman Giedo van der Garde. (GMM) Related NewsWealthy industrialist backing de Silvestro – Sauber testMattiacci ‘confirms’ 2015 lineup yet againSilly Season Update: Honda want Vettel and NeweyVan der Garde set for 2015 Sauber race seatMerhi in line to replace Kobayashi for MonzaVergne: I am in Formula 1 and my place is in Formula 1Pay drivers queue up at Marussia and CaterhamMarko: Verstappen will be immediately competitiveMarussia: Chilton will race at Spa, Rossi won’tVergne: I should shave more often to look younger!