January 23, 2010 / 12:08 AM / 9 years ago

Motor racing-Argentine Lopez set to drive for USF1 team

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Argentine Jose Maria Lopez was confirmed as a driver for the new Formula One team USF1 on Friday, his spokesman Miguel Mattos said.

Lopez, 26, will make his debut for the American team at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the opening race of the 2010 world championship, on March 14.

“Everything has been agreed and the official announcement will be made on Monday,” Mattos told Reuters.

Friday’s news came at the end of several days of meetings between the USF1 team’s co-owner Peter Windsor and Lopez’s sponsors in the Argentine capital.

Media reports said part of the money Lopez needed to secure a seat with USF1 was being put up by a group of firms that have backed the driver from the start of his negotiations, with added input from the Argentine government obtained late on Friday.

Lopez, a former Renault test driver, will be the first Argentine to race in Formula One since Gustavo Mazzacane, who raced for Minardi in 2000 and Prost in 2001.

Lopez, who is from the northern province of Cordoba, won Argentina’s TC2000 and Top Race V6 categories last year. (Reporting by Luis Ampuero; Editing by Peter Rutherford; to query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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