Tag Archives: Carlos Reutemann

Jose Maria Lopez confirmed at USF1

Jose Maria Lopez, when he was part of the Renault squad

Jose Maria Lopez, when he was part of the Renault squad

Argetinian Jose Maria Lopez has been confirmed as a driver for USF1 for this season.

However, the fact that the deal was announced by the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, shows the politics behind the move. His political connections, such as Carlos Reutemann, show that it was more his influence than his driving prowess.

When asked about the move, Lopez said:

“This is a truly memorable day for me, my family and the people of Argentina.”

“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.”

Peter Windsor explained why they signed him:

“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. He became a major star as a result and, in turn, the Argentine nation – a country where F1 is second only to soccer – has got behind him.”

I’ve already said that I’m doubtful of Lopez’s driving ability, but I’d say he’s better than the last bunch of Argentinian drivers. Gaston Mazzacane was aeons off the pace in 2000 for Minardi and 2001 for Prost, and is well known for taking out his pit crew in Indianapolis 2000.

Then before that we had Esteban Tuero, in 1998 for Minardi. The only thing I can remember about him is his pit stop in, erm, Argentina.

Then we had Norberto Fontana, who is famous for holding up Jacques Villeneuve to try to help Michael Schumacher win the 1997 championship.

Hopefully Lopez is better than those lot, but I’m still doubtful whether he deserves the drive or not.

Lopez reportedly signed for USF1

Jose Maria Lopez, when he was part of the Renault squad

Jose Maria Lopez, when he was part of the Renault squad

Reuters is reporting that Jose Maria Lopez has been signed for USF1, with an announcement due on Monday.

His manager, Miguel Mattos, confirmed the announcement, saying to Reuters that the 26-year-old Argentinian would be with USF1 for 2010. He stated:

“Everything has been agreed (with the US F1 team) and the official announcement will be made on Monday.”

In 2006, Lopez was a GP2 driver for Super Nova, and also the Renault F1 test driver. However, he was dropped from the renault young driver programme. In 2007, due to a lack of funding, he raced in TC2000, the Argentine Touring Car Championship. He claimed the titles for this championship in 2008 and 2009.

The USF1 team are also hinting towards this, saying, on their Facebook page, a big announcement is due next week.

It is understood that this deal was assisted largely by Carlos Reutemann, a former F1 driver from 1972 to 1982. He is now a politician in Argentina and a close friencd of Peter Windsor. A certain amount of governement backing (because of Carlos’ influence as a politician) and some sponsors brought on board meant that Lopez now had the money to sign a deal.

Lopez was saying months ago that he had an offer, but had to get some money and sponsors first. Now, thanks to Reutemann, he has his chance.

Personlly, I don’t think that politics like this should play a part in F1, but money talks big around here. Let’s see how he does in USF1 first, before we make any rash decisions. If he’s good, then it’s well worth this political influence. If he isn’t, it’s just money down the drain.

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