Who’s paying for it?
Inside the Sauber garage in Valencia, the walls are not the usual red, white and grey of the Swiss team, but blue and green. A nod to the phrase on the side of the C31: Clean Air Energy.
Throughout her career in America, De Silvestro has been an ambassador for this campaign. Her manager, Imran Safiulla, is behind the initiative and with his own links to the utility and power industry, he explains that these companies in the US wanted to increase their awareness within a tech-driven, younger demographic.
“If you take Usain Bolt into a classroom there is no relevance to this industry,” says Safiulla. “If you take a hybrid F1 car into a school they instantly see the relevance of sustainability and technology working together. No one in F1 is trying to make the engines less efficient or the tyres less green, so it’s a natural fit to encourage the utility companies to join this campaign.”
On the middle day of the Valencia test, Safiulla invited local schoolchildren to the Valencia racetrack to meet Simona and to learn how technology in F1 can drive change in energy demands. “A racing car is not there to pollute, it’s there to pollute less,” explains Safiulla.
Many utility companies have invested in the scheme, as well as other personal and private investors. Obviously running three F1 tests over the course of a year is costly, but the campaign could gather significant investment and momentum for the future.