US F1 Set To Announce Driver
US F1 will formally announce Jose Maria Lopez as its driver in Argentina on Monday, a business manager has confirmed. The 26-year-old former Renault test driver has sponsorship in place from the Argentianian government through the Automobile Club of Argentina as well as commercial backing.
Peter Windsor, the sporting director for US F1, has been in Buenos Aires meeting with government officials and commerical sponsors to hammer out the final details of a contract with sponsors. His trip has also included a meeting with former F1 driver Carlos Reutemann.
Windsor was quoted by the publication Corsa as saying the US F1 team expects to have the team’s first car assembled and testing by mid-February.
When Lopez first signed a deal with US F1 contingent upon bringing sponsorship, a representative of the ACA said he would have to bring a total package of $8 million to the team, a figure confirmed again in Argentina this week.
For the past two seasons, Lopez has been driving in the touring car series in Argentina. He has won the TC2000 championship both years and won last year’s TopRace V6 championship. He has also raced a Ferrari in conjunction with the ACA in Europe and the U.S. He drove a Ferrari at Sebring’s 12-hour in 2007 for Corsa Motorsports, which was retired after catching fire.
A winner at Barcelona in GP2 with the DAMS team in 2005 at Barcelona, Lopez was part of Renault’s driver development program. Twice he was in consideration for a major testing deal with Renault, but Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr. were chosen instead.
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