USF1 About to Announce Lopez As 2010 Formula1 Driver?


What Happens When the Locals Get the Story First

UPDATE: 9:15am EST November 21, 2009 — The contract negotiations betweenUSF1 and Jose Maria Lopez, as first suggested by On Any Sunday, These Days with inside confirmation of a factory visit on Thursday, below, have been confirmed by both Lopez on his official site and his manager Felipe McGough in an interview with Fox Sports Latin America.  Lopez’s official site states that he has a provisional contract with the American team, so long as he brings $11 million to the team’s budget, $8 million of which he claims to have already raised.

Manager McGough is a little more cautious in his interview with Fox Sports, saying “Everything is agreed and a pre-contract as well as the final contract will be signed within the next few weeks.”  “We’re barely reaching the finish line,” McGough added, suggesting the deal is not so close as Lopez would like to announce.

4:42pm EST — According to local Cordoba, Argentina news site MundoD, Jose Maria Lopez was at the USF1 factory Tuesday to finalize a contract to drive for the American team in 2010.  Poorly translated by Google, the article says that “when some versions indicated that the arrival of Jose Maria Lopez Cordoba to Formula One seemed impossible, a trip seems to say otherwise.  On Tuesday night, “Pechito” flew to the United States to meet with team officials USF1.”  This situation is reminiscent of Jenson Button’s trip to the McLaren factory before his 2010 contract was signed.

A source at USF1  has confirmed to On Any Sunday, These Days that Lopez was at the factory and is a talented driver.  They, however, refused to confirm if he is in contract negotiations or has a contract for 2010.

According to the article, Lopez has the financial backing of the governor of Santiago del Estero, who helped bring together a coalition of businesses to further his career.  Lopez has open-wheel experience in multiple Formula Renault series, F3000, and GP2, as well as recent touring car experience, as he was the 2008 Argentinian TC 2000 driver’s champion.  Lopez has long been considered a front-runner for the USF1 seat in South America, but has received little press attention from the European F1 contingent.

“Pechito traveled to speak to the people on the team.  We are making progress in negotiations and working to see if we can get the place and silver,” said Carlos García Remohí, president of the Comisión Deportiva Automovilista (CDA) del Automóvil Club Argentino (ACA).  Lopez’s father is quoted as saying, “we need a 20 per cent of the $8 million we agreed,” and the deal will be announced.  Whether this means that Lopez is bringing his own sponsors to the team is as unclear as the translation.  More information will be published when available.

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4 Comments

  1. Next time you need translations, shoot me an e-mail.

    • sure thing…I should have just done it myself, but I was in a hurry and my Spanish is rusty enough that I take a while to get things done properly.
      Thanks!
      VMR

  2. I’d be all for signing him for development or testing, but if they signed him to drive next year, then they need to put down the bong…

  3. Lopez returned to Argentina where this weekend’s race runs on Top Race and has chances to become champion. He also leads the tc 2000 and TC (turismo de carretera). would be a great shot if he won the three local championships and gets into a Formula One next year.


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