Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso has said that he has no regrets about the collapse of his negotiations to buy the Euskaltel-Euskadi team last September, explaining that he is happier to plan for the launch of a new team from scratch in 2015.
“I don’t know if it’s more exciting to build a team than to buy one but one thing is sure – it’s certainly more work,” Alonso told L’Équipe. “When the negotiations with Euskaltel collapsed at the last moment, I was sad at the idea of not being in the peloton in 2014.
“But on the other hand, if a deal had been done, we wouldn’t have been at a good level of competition next year. We were already at the end of September and it would have been too late to do what we’re trying to create now. So, right now, I’m rather happy.”
Alonso’s objective is to put together a team that will enter the peloton at WorldTour level in 2015. Even before his recruitment drive begins in earnest, the Spaniard has already been linked with a number of high-profile riders, including Peter Sagan, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador, although the latter two have existing contracts through to the end of 2015.
“Alberto Contador still has at least two years on his contract: we have to look at the riders who will be free from the end of 2014. The list isn’t enormous, but we’re already speaking with some riders,” said Alonso. “What division will we be able to ride in next year as a 100 percent new team? It’s not clear yet but it doesn’t matter, we’ll adapt. The main thing is to be the best team.”
Ever since news of the project first broke, Alonso has spoken repeatedly of his desire to marry aspects of Formula 1 to cycling, but he was careful to point out that there is much to be learned from existing practices within the sport too.
“Like many other sports, cycling has evolved to a very high level, which makes it difficult to make a difference,” Alonso admitted. “All the riders are very professional. All the recuperation techniques, bike materials, wind tunnel testing… It’s all very developed. We have to concentrate more on the little details, so we’ll need to have the best technologies out there.”