After months of speculation regarding USF1 hiring Argentinian race driver Jose Maria Lopez as one of their official drivers for the debut Formula One season in 2010, they have finally confirmed it just a week before official preseason testing begins. USF1 was the only team left to announce at least one of their drivers, and now only but a couple race seats are available for this season.
"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. 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.
So many things go into starting a Formula One team from scratch.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."
Lopez added, "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."
The Argentinian president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was the one to officially announce the signing commented, "The Argentine government is very happy to get behind this exciting new project and we wish Jose Maria and the team all the best for the 2010 season."
Source: US F1 Team