Epsilon: F1 still the right place to be

Epsilon Euskadi boss Joan Villadelprat says the struggles Formula 1's new teams have faced this season has not dampened his desire to move into grand prix racing in 2011

Epsilon: F1 still the right place to be

The Spanish outfit is widely believed to be favourite to land the 13th slot that has become available for next season, with a decision from the FIA on the matter expected within the next few weeks.

And although the difficulties that outfits like Virgin Racing and HRT have faced have acted as a wake-up call about the difficulties new teams experience, Villadelprat says he fully understands what he is letting himself in for.

"You always think that you can do better than that, but I am very much with my feet on the ground knowing that when you start a new team, it is a job for four years," he told AUTOSPORT during a visit to the Barcelona paddock on Thursday.

"Forget the first season - it is four years to get the right people, to get the stability, get the means on the economical side sorted, and make sure everybody works in a single way.

"I am not surprised...I am not saying we will struggle, but it is so hard for the new teams, like it will be for us as well. But it all depends on the means you have and the spirit you have to achieve that quicker."

Villadelprat admitted that losing out on a grid slot last year was a blow, and said that his task at the moment was to convince his old investors to commit to the project once more.

"Obviously from June/July [last year] we did carry on working on the project, but at a different rate obviously because, after the decision of giving the three new teams, it was a big disappointment from the people who were behind us commercially. Now we have another chance and it has been my job through the winter until now to try to reward those people who got a bit annoyed.

"I am working on [the finances] at the moment. This year yet I don't have the finances, but I am getting very close to hopefully prove to the FIA that we have the means economically, not just to do one year but to be a team for the future. But that is not yet."

FIA president Jean Todt had been due to visit Epsilon's factory during a visit to Spain earlier this week, but that had to be called off after poor weather conditions grounded his plane.

However, Villadelprat says his team is ready to open its doors to the FIA at any moment as it awaits the next stage of the selection process.

"You cannot fight with the weather, so we had to postpone Jean Todt's visit until he is able to do it," he said. "In the meantime we carry on working and getting ready for when the FIA needs any information to be able to present it.

"We have received an email from the FIA that states they are not ready to ask the important questions yet. We are waiting for them to come back to us to say we want that, that, and that.

"We know at the moment that by the end of June is the latest stage that you carry on working and then after that it will take a week or two weeks to decide who will be the 13th team. That is all I know."

And although observers believe that Epsilon's credentials put it ahead of rivals like Stefan GP in the fight for the 13th spot, Villadelprat is refusing to take anything for granted ahead of the FIA's final decision being made.

"We cannot make that kind of statement - we are just one team that has made an entry," said Villadelprat, who believed that the calm political scene in F1 this season boded well for the selection process.

"It looks like at the moment for the first four races the FIA has taken a little bit more of an easy line - we see things like with [Lewis] Hamilton and other things, and I believe it is good for the sport.

"It is a bad time when we lose and win races in the offices, and not on track. It is a good line that the FIA is taking, and hopefully that will help in the process of selection to select the right candidate."

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