Lopez closing on USF1 deal, Rossiter for second seat? UPDATE #2 (GMM) USF1 will announce on Monday that it has signed Argentine driver Jose Maria Lopez for 2010.
The American team reached a deal with the 26-year-old touring car driver late last year, dependant on the finalization of his sponsorship package believed to be worth around $8m.
"Everything has been agreed and the official announcement will be made on Monday," the former GP2 racer's spokesman Miguel Mattos told Reuters.
The news agency said USF1 sporting director Peter Windsor has been meeting with Lopez's sponsors in Buenos Aires in the past days.
It is believed the country's government will advertise Argentinean tourism on the USF1 car, and that the Top Race V6 series and the company Kwan will also sponsor the Charlotte based team.
01/22/10 Reuters reports that Jose Marie Lopez will be confirmed as the first of US F1’s two drivers on Monday. The US F1 team confirmed via its Facebook page that a major announcement is planned for next week.
As mentioned here earlier, Lopez hasn’t raced a single seater car since 2006.
Lopez was dropped by Renault’s driver development program in 2006. His connection to US F1 has been rumored for several months, during which time he has probably been putting a sponsorship package in place.
Argentina has a great historical link with F1 thanks to the likes Juan Manuel Fangio and Carlos Reutemann. But there hasn’t been a Argentinean Grand Prix since 1998 and the last Argentinean driver to race in F1 was Gaston Mazzacane, who was dropped by the Prost team early in 2001.01/04/10 (GMM) Jose Maria Lopez looks set to secure one race seat at USF1, and the other may go to the British driver James Rossiter, according to reports from Argentina.
The publication Corsa revealed that Argentine Lopez, who has not raced a single seater since GP2 in 2006, has recently done two days to re-acclimatize at the wheel of a F3 car.
It is said that sponsors on the car, including to promote Argentinean tourism, the Top Race V6 series and the company Kwan, will all accompany Lopez to USF1.
His manager Felipe McGough, also working closely with the Automovil Club Argentino, confirmed that the deal with F1's new American team is still on.
"In the last weeks we made much progress, but the holidays were a complication. All is well.
"They are sensitive contracts. We must have patience. The idea is that the team makes the announcement," he said.
In late November it emerged that Lopez, 26, had penned a deal conditional on the completion of his $8m sponsor package.
Other reports said the team's sporting director Peter Windsor is already working on obtaining a Super License for the Argentinean touring car driver, and is confident of the outcome due to his Renault test duties of some years ago.
Moreover, Lopez is scheduled to travel to Britain and Austria in the next few days for physical training, before travelling to Charlotte for seat fittings and official team events at the end of January.
It is believed the delay in the finalization of the contract is to organize bank guarantees to cover Lopez's sponsor funds.
According to lavoz.com.ar, Lopez said: "I think that on about the 25th (of January) I am going to go to North Carolina for the official presentation of the team, and if need be some checks on the car before the official February tests in Valencia."