Fernando Alonso, the Spanish superstar driver who’s jumping into cycling’s big time, has promised to bring his experience from the Formula One circuit to the peloton when he debuts a new team in 2015.
Speaking to the French newspaper L’Equipe, Alonso outlined his vision for his new team, which he is planning to unveil for the 2015 season.
“There are 40 people working on a cycling team, and I want to be able to count on people who can do their job without me having to call every day, because my job is to race Formula One,” Alonso told L’Equipe. “I will include people I know from my experience racing car, someone from Benetton, others from Renault, someone from timing from Ferrari. I want to create a team of people that I confide in 100 percent, who enjoy their work, and do it with passion.”
The interview with the Spanish superstar provided the first insight into what Alonso hopes to do with his entree into cycling.
The move is highly anticipated, not only as a salve for Spanish cycling, but for all of cycling, as Alonso is one of international sport’s biggest personalities, a two-time world champion considered one of the best drivers in F1 history.
Alonso said he would remain focused on racing cars, with two years remaining on his contract with Ferrari, and he wants to win at least one more world title after finishing second this season.
Alonso said progress is “advancing well” and that he’s confident the team will be at the top level of the sport in time for its debut in 2015.
On the fallout with negotiations to take over the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, Alonso expressed his frustration, but said in the long run, it might have been the best thing.
Rather than take over the Euskaltel infrastructure, Alonso and his team are building from scratch, and decided to wait until 2015 to make sure there was time to get it right.
“When the negotiations with Euskaltel collapsed in the last minute, I was sad to not to be able to be ready for 2014,” he said. “On the other hand, we might have moved forward without the best level of competition. It was already at the end of September, and it was getting late to try to create the team we want to. At the end of the day, I am happy and I prefer to build the team my way.”
Alonso hinted he would be meeting with cycling insiders from the UCI and the Tour de France organization to make sure the team is on the right footing and avoids “rookie mistakes.”
Whether the team debuts as a WorldTour or Professional Continental squad in 2015 remains unknown. Alonso said he wants assurances that the team will be ready to race.
And he promised to bring some of the technological and engineering prowess from Formula One to cycling, though he admitted that cycling already incorporates the best advances of the day.
“Things are going well and I am impatient, but there’s still a lot of work ahead of us in terms of organization and ideas we can incorporate from Formula One,” Alonso told L’Equipe. “Telemetry, for example, opens up a lot of possibilities. But like other sports, cycling has evolved to a high level. It’s more difficult to create differences. All the cyclists today are very professional, and all the techniques of recuperation, preparation, materials, and things like wind tunnel, they are already very advanced. We need to concentrate on the smaller details, and so we need the best technologies that exist.”
As for which riders he hopes to sign, Alonso said he woul wait to see who is available at the end of the 2014 season.