Argentinian driver Lopez joins USF1 team

The new American Formula One team USF1 has signed Argentinian Jose Maria Lopez as its first driver for the 2010 season.

The contract was announced at government house on Monday by Argentina President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner with 26-year-old Lopez in attendance.

“The Argentinian 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,” she said.

Lopez, 26, has government funding for the F1 deal, according to local media reports.

The former Renault test driver and GP2 racer is the 24th Argentinian driver to compete in Formula One and the first for nine years since Gaston Mazzacane raced at Prost in 2001.

Lopez will make his debut at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14.

With the Lopez deal all 13 teams competing in the 2010 season now have at least one driver. — Sapa-dpa

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