F1 – USF1 and the Driver Carousel

Jose-Maria-LopezThe most recent reports out of Corsa in Argentina continue to link Jose Maria Lopez with a race seat at USF1.

Lopez has raced in several different formula feeder series since 2001 including Formula Renault Eurocup, Italian Formula Renault, Formula Renault V6 Eurocup, Formula 3000 and GP2. But his last formula race experience was in 2005 and 2006 in GP2 where he finished 9th and 10th in the points respectively. Since then he has raced in ALMS GT2, Argentina’s touring car championship TC2000 (where he won the driver’s title in 2008 and 2009).

It was previously reported that Lopez had signed a conditional deal with USF1 for a race seat, the condition being that he raise 8 million dollars. Reports indicate that he is over 80% funded. Corsa indicates that Lopez will be sponsored by Argentinean tourism, the Top Race V6 series and the company Kwan. Further, Lopez has recently completed a test in an F3 car to get reacquainted with formula cars since he hasn’t driven one since 2006.

Corsa also indicates that James Rossiter may be the other USF1 driver. Rossiter has a bit higher pedigree having worked his way up from karting through the European formula ladders and landing as a test driver for Honda and Super Aguri in 2007 and 2008.

The whole driver carousel at USF1 is worthy of mention though. When USF1 was first reported, Peter Windsor kept saying that they would field American drivers. As time went on, that statement turned into maybe an American and an experienced veteran. Now it appears that American drivers are out in favor of pay drivers, regardless of their level of experience. Maybe Milka Duno could get a seat at USF1.

This is a long way from Peter’s attention grabbing statements where he talked about Kyle Bush, Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti and Jonathan Summerton as potential pilots. Clearly, the economic reality of funding an F1 team has set in. Or maybe he knew they would have to go this route in the first place, and only made those media statements in an attempt to gain attention for his F1 effort in a country that ignores international motorsport.

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2 Thoughts to “F1 – USF1 and the Driver Carousel

  1. I think Windsor has moderated his comments in that he has been saying that this year getting an American driver is a no go but for 2011 and beyond it is definitely in the cards. That being said, US F1 should really be working on a North American driver development program if they are serious about supporting American talent.

  2. Agreed Mark, I am thinking however with this Lopez guy…why not just hire a North American driver now? This guy has been out of Formula racing awhile now and putting somebody such as JR from Lights is just as good!?!? I agree though, if you are not going to have a driver until after 2011, then you need to develop the means to harvest a driver worth a damn.

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