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US F1 Team Signs Driver

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Tuesday, January 26 2010
USF1 owner Ken Anderson, left, and driver Jose Maria Lopze. (File photo courtesy of USF1)

USF1 owners Ken Anderson, left, and Peter Windsor, right, now have a driver in Jose Maria Lopez. (File photo courtesy of USF1)

RacinToday.com

The US F1 Team has signed the former Renault F1 Team test driver, Jose Maria “Pechito” Lopez (26), to race with them in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

“Securing ‘Pechito’ Lopez for our debut season has been a goal of ours for a long time,” said US F1 Team Executive Vice President Peter Windsor. “We’ve been following his career since he dominated the Renault V6 Championship in 2003 and we’re thrilled to have him on board as we return America to Formula One.

“Lopez is a consummate professional and born leader. The most revealing thing about his character was how he handled the disappointment of not racing for Renault after three years of testing with them in F1. Instead of moping around and feeling sorry for himself, he returned to Argentina and totally dominated the local scene, winning 38 races and three championships.”

Lopez’s US F1 contract was officially announced by the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, in the Casa Rosada (Government House) in Buenos Aires on Monday.

“This is a truly memorable day for me, my family and the people of Argentina,” said Lopez, who has more than 6,000 kilometers of F1 test experience. “I have been working towards this day for much of my life and I can’t thank Peter and Ken (Anderson) enough for this opportunity.  Of course a new F1 team faces many challenges but our goal is to improve with each race and build a foundation that will eventually see this team competing for wins and championships.”

After a successful career in karts, switched to race cars in Europe in 2001 . He won the 2002 Italian Formula Renault Championship with four wins, five poles and three podiums and in European Formula Renault he scored two wins, two poles and a podium.

He dominated the European Formula Renault V6 Championship in 2003 (five wins, eight poles, seven podiums) and in one season of F3000 and two in GP2 he scored a win (Barcelona), seven podiums and a pole.

As a contracted Renault driver, he also completed thousands of miles in the F1 car, focusing mainly on shake-downs and starts but also completing simulated race distances with compromised set-ups.

Disappointed not be given the opportunity to race in F1, Jose returned to Argentina in 2007.

Team Principal, President and CEO Ken Anderson said finding the right drivers was a major part of forming US F1 Team.

“So many things go into starting a Formula One team from scratch,” Anderson said. “You can nail every step along the way but if you don’t have the right guys in the seats, everything else is for naught. With Jose Maria Lopez we have further positioned ourselves for a successful 2010 debut campaign.”

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Tuesday, January 26 2010
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