Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso was on hand at the start of the elite men's world championship race
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Bettini has not been approached, says driver's manager
Although Fernando Alonso’s proposed takeover of Euskaltel-Euskadi’s licence for next year ultimately came to nothing, the Formula 1 driver is proceeding with his plans to unveil a new top-level team for the 2015 season.
After Alonso met briefly with Paolo Bettini before the start of the world championships road race in Florence last month, speculation was rife in the Italian press that the national team coach was going to take up a role with the new team, but Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad has quashed the story.
“We never spoke with him, beyond a greeting at the Worlds,” Garcia Abad told Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Spaniard was more effusive about the vaguer concept of the team, repeating Alonso’s affirmation that the project would seek to blend the best aspects of cycling and Formula 1.
“That means technology, research, marketing, promotion and the use of new instruments such as telemetry, as well as setting up our own medical centre,” Garcia Abad said. “The intention is to do something new and avoid the problem of doping.”
Beyond the inevitable speculation linking Alberto Contador to the new Alonso project – even though Contador has two years to run on his current deal with Saxo Bank – Gazzetta also suggests that Ivan Basso and Filippo Pozzato are possible targets for the team. However, Garcia Abad downplayed the speculation by pointing out that, “At the moment, we can’t sign any contracts with riders.”
The team’s title sponsor, too, remains a mystery for now, although Garcia Abad said that some sponsorship agreements are already in place. When Alonso first divulged his plans to take over Euskaltel-Euskadi last month, there was speculation his personal sponsor Banco Santander would be the backer, but this has been ruled out.
“It’s better to keep the F1 business and cycling on separate plains,” Garcia Abad said of Banco Santander. “We’re not talking about any companies currently involved in cycling. We’re turning to companies who are interested in innovation and with an ecological soul. Some agreements have already been signed.”
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