EFREN: L?pez first Formula One experience

Since October 19th. when he achieved the title of the Eurocup Formula Renault V6, José María López was waiting for this moment. Thinking how would it be. The dream finally arrived and the Argentinian completed on December 2nd. and 3rd. his...

Since October 19th. when he achieved the title of the Eurocup Formula Renault V6, José María López was waiting for this moment. Thinking how would it be. The dream finally arrived and the Argentinian completed on December 2nd. and 3rd. his first contact with the Renault R23 of Formula One at the the circuit of Barcelona, Spain.

The first journey was full of emotion for `J-Lo`, as he has been christened by the Renault people, and very positive for José María.

The Renault Driver Development member must complete 100 laps, but an engine failure in lap 59 finished with the aspirations for the day.

López marked 1:18.897 in lap 45 as his best time at 2s5 of the fastest driver of the journey, also with Renault, the French Franck Montagny who will be the tester of the team in 2004.

The Argentinian completed the target of add experience in a car he didn`t know and also showed how fast he is in a racing car.

¨I`m very happy because this is the beginning of a big dream. Talking with the engineers I realised how important were all those years alone in Europe¨, commented López.

Abotu driving a Formula One: ¨The car is fantastic. I`m sourprised by the braking power and the speed of turns and besides how fast the information is in the box. The people in the team treated me vey well and with my engineer we understod inmediately. It was a good first experience and I think I can do much more¨, were the words of `Pechito` after his first day of activity in a F1.

Who also shoed happy with the work of López was Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: ¨'J-Lo', had a very productive run: he made no mistakes, gave us very good chassis feedback and set reasonable lap-times. He was unfortunate to have an engine failure on what was going to be his quickest lap by some margin, and which would have been close to the target we had set him.", he mentioned.

The second journey was different. The rain appeared and change the aspirations of López and the Renault team.

Of course it was the first time he drove a F1 car in wet, so the Argentinian tried not to make mistakes and completed the activity the best as possible. And so he did.

After only 14 laps the best time was 1:32.751 at 4s623 of David Coulthard with the new McLaren MP 4-19.

¨In this sesond day I had a different feeling to the first. Running with rain is amazing, you live it in another way. Despite the car was good, I was carefuly¨, explained a happy José María.

¨Of this two test days I take the great experience of the laps I completed and I hope will be important in my future¨, he said.

¨José María did a good job, showing confidence and very mature. Times are meaningless in these kinds of conditions, but his confidence and feedback were very good.

López completed in the 74 laps around the Spanish track 348 Km. A hole Grand Prix distance with no msitakes with different conditions and for the first time at the wheel of a Formula Ona machine. Not bad for sure.

The inmediately future for ¨Pechito¨ is waiting him at Vallelunga, Italy next 10th. when he will test the Minardi PS 03 with chances of be racing on 2004: ¨Yes, there are possibilities of be with Minardi next year. That will be decide after the F1 test. Thanks to God everything was excellent. Now I`m waiting the Minardi test and then we`ll see. I would like race in Minardi, but it`s also a Renault decision¨, explained the future Argentinian driver in Formula One. It`s a matter of time.

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers David Coulthard , Franck Montagny , Jose Maria Lopez