US F1 have confirmed that Jose Maria Lopez will be the team's first driver for the 2010 season

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    US F1 have confirmed that Jose Maria Lopez will be the team's first driver for the 2010 season

    Post by Ross on 25th January 2010, 17:12

    US F1 confirm Lopez as first driver

    US F1 have today confirmed rumours that Jose Maria Lopez will be the team's first driver for the 2010 Formula 1 season.

    After weeks of speculation, a large press conference led by Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, was held on Monday, as predicted by

    It is understood that Lopez secured the drive with financial backing from the Argentinian government, in which ex-Formula 1 driver Carlos Reutemann, a close friend of US F1 vice president Peter Windsor, is an influential figure.

    "Securing Lopez for our debut season has been a goal of ours for a long time," said Windsor, speaking at the press conference. "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 was clearly delighted by the contract, expected to have been signed up to a week ago. "This is a truly memorable day for me, my family and the people of Argentina," he said. "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."

    This is the first official announcement regarding the driver line-up of the American team, based in Charlotte, NC. No clues have been given as to the identity, if any yet, of who will partner Lopez this season.

    The move quashes suggestions that the team have been struggling financially and may be forced to withdraw their entry for the 2010 season.

    The YouTube-backed squad is expected to launch its new car sometime in early February.

    Ross Messinger

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