Intro: USF1 2010


Dec 6, 2009
0 :D

US F1 Team announces Jose Maria Lopez as driver for 2010 season

Peter Windsor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and José Maria Lopez

Argentine star to race in US F1’s Debut Campaign

Charlotte, N.C. (Jan. 25, 2010) – US F1 Team announced today that they have 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. Lopez will be the 24th Argentine* to race in Formula One, sustaining a heritage that began sixty years ago when Juan Manuel Fangio and Froilan "Pepe" Gonzalez took the F1 world by storm.

"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." As proof of that, 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 the afternoon of January 25.

After meeting Jose Maria and Windsor, the President 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."

"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 winning in karts all over the world from the age of seven – Lopez was leading Lewis Hamilton in the world final in Japan when his chain broke - he 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. His positive, super-professional approach resulted in three championships, 38 wins and 36 pole positions. As a result, Jose became a hero in his own country and regained the momentum he needed to focus once again on F1.

US F1 Team, which is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, the motorsports capital of the United States, will be the only American-based team on the grid in 2010 and the first in more than 40 years. 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."

Bram Hengeveld

RaceDepartment Founder
Dec 26, 2006
Shame on me? I never heard of the guy before :) Good looking stats though from the early 2000's. Not sure how much competition a driver can have in the local scene of Argentina, but i can't imagine that he was surrounded by top quality drivers like in F1.

Though, good to finally see USF1 naming a driver. I was still hoping for J. Villeneuve :)


Dec 6, 2009
I am an Argentinian living in the US.
I have seen most if not all of his races since he went back to Argentina from Europe.

He has raced in Argentina's top 3 series which are:
-TC2000 (4cyl, FWD cars)
-TRV6 (3.0L V6, RWD, cars have different bodies but all chassis, engines and transmissions are the same for everyone)
-TC (Turismo Carretera) this is Argentina's most popular series and the oldest racing series in the world according to the Guinness Organization (dates back to the 1930's), cars are in-line 6cyl RWD like Ford Falcon, Chevy Nova coupe, Dodge coupe, and Torino.

In TC2000 he has won both seasons he participated in (2008, 2009), '09 champion in TRV6, and second place in TC '09 only because in the last race, while maintaining a confortable 4th place (he was a champion finishing anywhere from 8th to 1st) he couldn't avoid an oil leak from another car and went off track to a muddy spot where was impossible to get out of. And to top it off, the race winner was the guy who need to win, and have Lopez DNF so that he could be champion, and he was...
Lopez would've been the 1st driver to win all 3 series in the same year, and is the only one who has ever come that close.

Argentina has a huge motorsports culture, and racing is only second to soccer. The competition level is traditionally very high and very close, TC2000, TRV6, and TC are held in different weekends, so that all of the top drivers compete in all 3 series.

J. M. Lopez won 3 championships in 2 years (38 race wins, 25 pole positions in '09 only, 11 consecutive poles).

2002- Italian Formula Renault 2000 champion (Robert Kubica was 2nd)
2003 - European Formula Renault V6 champion

He has over 15000km of testing the Renault F1 car in 2005 and 2006, that car gave Fernando Alonso the '05 title.
He raced in GP2 alongside Piquet Jr, Hamilton, Roseberg, Kovalainen, Buemi, and other drivers who eventually made it to F1. But when it was time for him to make the jump, he didn't have enough funding (most argentinian companies lack the amount of money need to sponsor an F1 driver), even now, as Argentina's undisputed top driver, he struggled to come up with the money.

He has a very aggressive driving style, and he is very fast, an excellent qualifier. I just hope that USF1 can give him a good car!!!
his nickname "Pechito" is the diminutive from the spanish word "Pecho" (chest) and was given to him when he was a little boy racing karts, for his adamant personality on the track. It sounds like nonsense when translated literally, but it is referred as to somebody who does not back up when attacked, but instead replies vehemently.


Sep 23, 2008
He has much better achievements than Kobayashi. And in the meanwhile everyone is cheering about Koba..
Koba had the luck last year he could do anything without pressure..
Feb 2, 2009
I was still hoping for J. Villeneuve :)
Me too, i think he could have done wonders back on slick tyres, and lack of traction control you only need to look at 96 and 97 to see that, and 98 to be fair he got some good results in a shocking beyond belief Williams.