Joan Villadelprat has vowed that despite having been rejected for a second year in succession by the FIA after applying for the 13th F1 grid slot in 2011, Epsilon Euskadi understands and accepts the governing body's reasons and will find a way onto the grand prix grid 'sooner or later' – possibly even as rapidly as next season in any case, via a merger with an existing team.
Following the extraordinary World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) reunion in Paris last week, the three short-listed applicants to fill the slot left vacant by the shambolic USF1 effort earlier this year – Spanish single-seater and sportscar operation Epsilon Euskadi, joint Jacques Villeneuve and Durango Corse bid Villeneuve Racing and unsuccessful F1 2010 hopeful Stefan GP – all had their candidacies refused, with the FIA explaining that none of them 'met the requirements to be granted an entry into the championship' [see separate story – click here
“First of all, I would like to say that we respect the FIA's decision of not granting the allocation of the 13th licence,” well-regarded former Tyrrell, Benetton and Prost Grand Prix team manager Villadelprat told his team's website. “If, having all the information about the candidates, they decided that this is the best option, it is because it must be.
“As a personal opinion, I think that it is best to leave it vacant rather than having a team that, given the deadlines and requirements, would almost be impossible to be ready for 2011. We knew it would be very difficult for us to be chosen since, as I always said, we still don't have the economic package guaranteed.
“Without this capital, it would be infeasible to carry out the F1 project that we want – and without this capital, neither would we commit ourselves to do it. We have the ideal facilities and workforce for F1, and we will keep working to get there sooner or later.
“This year's [bid] was the same as 2009 but improved – more settled and complete. In 2009, we weren't yet established at the new headquarters and we were missing the mileage that we currently have. This year, we also moved forward with the model and the human team. This candidacy was even better than the 2009 one; the only thing we were missing was the financing, which we had last year.”
However, all may not yet be lost for Epsilon regarding 2011, it is rumoured, with suggestions that the Basque outfit could yet buy into struggling newcomer Hispania Racing (HRT), which on current evidence is unlikely to make it into a second season without a significant injection of financial support.
“The 13th licence was one way, but not the only one to get into F1,” Villadelprat muses. “We definitely consider other possibilities, which can be very different. We are talking about options that haven't occurred yet but, I repeat, we will keep working both on the financial and development packages to be ready for when these options may come up.”