|José María López|
|P.O.B.||Río Tercero, Argentina|
|D.O.B.||26 April 1983|
|Date of Death||Unknown|
|Début||2016 Hong Kong ePrix|
|Titles||0 (9th 2016/17)|
|Teams||DS Virgin Racing|
|Formula E Career|
|Total Entries||33 (33 Starts)|
José María "Pechito" López (born 26 April 1983 in Río Tercero, Argentina) is an Argentine racing driver, who competed in the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship for GEOX Dragon. Renowned as a double World Touring Car Championship Champion, López became the first of his countrymen to race in FE when he made his debut in 2016/17, and would briefly maintain links with former employers DS when they allied with Virgin Racing.
López would leave the DS Virgin team at the end of the 2016/17 season, leaving him without a drive for 2017/18. Yet, the Argentine would rejoin the series sooner than expected, taking over Neel Jani's seat after the Swiss racer left Dragon Racing ahead of the 2018 Marrakech E-Prix. Yet, López would not hit the heights of his earlier, season, ending the season with only a handful of points finishes to his name, although the newly renamed GEOX Dragon squad would retain him for 2018/19.
Unfortunately for López his third FE season would be another poor one, with the Argentine racer only scoring three points across the season. That ultimately caused López to be dropped from Dragon at the end of the season, despite his belief that he would be retained.
After starting his career in karts in his native Argentina, López moved to Europe in 2001 to secure his first proper race seat, the Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup. Two seasons in that series saw López achieve a single victory, although he would also spend the 2002 battling to the title in the Italian Formula Renault Championship, beating future Formula One racer Robert Kubica. The Argentine's momentum would follow him through into the 2003 season, where López secured the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup title.
Single Seat Dreams
Form 2004, López would entertain hopes of competing in Formula One, although he would have to jump through numerous hoops to do so. A season in the International Formula 3000 Championship saw López finish sixth, before getting drafted into F3000s replacement series, GP2. During his two seasons in GP2, López would serve as the test driver for the Renault F1 team, before signing himself up for the future flop that was the US F1 Team.
After the 2006 season, López decided to return to Argentina, racing in numerous Touring Car Championships as well as the American Le Mans Series. He would make the TC 2000 Championship in his native Argentina his own over the next six seasons, taking three titles as his hopes of an F1 career faded away.
For 2013, López secured his first drive in the WTCC, making his debut at the Argentine round of the 2013 season. A stunning debut saw him sweep to victory in the second race of the weekend, with both Independent trophies on offer also falling López's way. For 2014 the Argentine was called up to the Citroen Racing Team, where he would dominate both the field and his teammates to secure a maiden World Championship, a feat López repeated with equal supremacy in 2015.
Formula E History
With Citroën seeking to deepen their involvement in Formula E, the French car maker persuaded their then partners Virgin Racing to take on López for the 2016/17 season, partnering him with Sam Bird. López's first taste of the Formula E car would come at the 2016 Donington Test, with the Argentine bested by his British teammate across the six days, although the pair were closely matched throughout.
López would make a poor start to the season in Hong Kong, retiring from the opening round after a self-induced accident, having just been awarded FanBoost. However, the Argentine would bounce back in Marrakech, claiming his first points finish of the season, a feat he would match at his home race in Buenos Aires. López would follow that up with a strong performance in Mexico City, claiming sixth after avoiding the late race chaos.
Another retirement followed in Monte Carlo, before López produced his best performance of the season in 2017 Paris ePrix to finish second. Benefiting from trouble suffered by other drivers, including teammate Bird, López quietly got on with his work to finish less than a second behind winner Sébastien Buemi, a result which catapulted the Argentine into the top ten of the Championship standings. His form carried over into the two Berlin ePrix, with López just falling shy of the podium in both races but claiming solid points finishes.
However, López would miss the New York double header that followed due to his WEC commitments, a decision that partially contributed to his fall from Formula E. His replacement Alex Lynn performed brilliantly in both races despite retiring, and with López's backers Citroën looking at other options in Formula E, his time with DS Virgin Racing looked to be up. Regardless, López would return for the season ending double header in Montreal, ending the season with a second podium finish.
López would leave DS Virgin at the end of the season having effectively lost his seat to Lynn after the Brit's impressive debut cameo. The Argentine racer was therefore left without a drive for the 2017/18 season, prompting him to assess his options. That was, until López was approached by Dragon Racing shortly before the 2018 Marrakech E-Prix, who hoped that the Argentine would replace the departing Neel Jani in time for the third race of the season.
López's debut for Dragon would be a successful one, with the Argentine racer impressing in qualifying to get into Super Pole, before going on to finish sixth in the race. Unfortunately his second race in the #6 car would not go so well, with the Argentine racer wiped out early on in an accident with Maro Engel. A twelfth place in Mexico City followed, before López returned to the points in Punta del Este, claiming fastest lap as he fought to finish eighth.
A poor race in Rome followed for López, with the Argentine knocking Oliver Turvey into the barriers, only to retire with suspension damage in the closing stages. López would then pick up a single point in tenth in Paris, ahead of a pointless run to the end of the season, with the Argentine barely threatening the points throughout. Indeed, the closest López looked to scoring would be the 2018 New York City E-Prix I, with the Argentine making an excellent start, only to get taken out by teammate Jérôme d'Ambrosio in the first corner.
López would be retained by Dragon ahead of the 2018/19 season, with the Argentine having led the development programme of their new car, the Penske EV-3, alongside then test-driver Maximilian Günther. Günther would subsequently be promoted to running as López's teammate after the 2018 Valencia Test, with López lapping faster than either the German, or fellow tester Antonio Fuoco across the three days. Yet, despite qualifying an impressive second for the season opening 2018 Ad Diriyah E-Prix, López would be quickly shuffled down the order, before retiring late in the race with suspension snapping slap against the wall.
A quieter race in Marrakech for López saw the Argentine fail to score once again, before a stronger display in Santiago. Indeed, López would spend the entire Santiago race battling for points, and ultimately scored his best finish of the season in ninth, having been pushed back down the field for causing a collision. Indeed, the Penske's weak race pace was highlighted particularly in the 2019 Mexico City E-Prix, with López finishing a lowly seventeenth.
That was the beginning of a five race pointless run for López, which included a brief change of teammates in the form of Felipe Nasr, as well as a retirement for the Argentine at the Sanya E-Prix due to a mechanical issue. López would, however, manage to find some form at the 2019 Rome E-Prix, making a rare Super Pole appearance to claim third on the grid, before slipping down the order at the start. The Argentine then caused a series of accidents and a red flag by crashing into the chicane at the back of the circuit, ultimately finishing sixteenth when the race concluded.
That run came to an end when López scored tenth in the 2019 Monaco E-Prix, narrowly missing out on eighth after a late battle with Alex Lynn and Stoffel Vandoorne. Yet, hopes of building some momentum from that result were destroyed by a poor race in Berlin, with López finishing down in twentieth, before the Argentine was disqualified in Bern for using more energy than permitted. Two further non-scores, including a race ending collision with André Lotterer in the season ending 2019 New York City E-Prix II, saw López end the season with just three points, enough for 21st in the Championship.
López expected to be retained by Dragon for the 2019/20 season as teammate Günther moved to the BMW-Andretti team, only to be replaced by two FE rookies in the form of Brendon Hartley and Nico Müller.
Full Formula E Record
Shown below are a series of tables outlining José María López's career in Formula E in statistical form.
Formula E Entries
The list below includes all of the teams and cars, as well as overall finishing positions for José María López during their FE career:
|José María López's Overall Formula E Record|
|2016/17||DS Virgin Racing||37||DS Virgin DSV-02||9th||65|
|2017/18||Dragon Racing||6||Penske EV-2||17th||14|
|2018/19||GEOX DRAGON||7||Penske EV-3||21st||3|
Below is a table showing José María López's full Formula E record.
|FIA Formula E Championship Record|
Videos and Images:
- Morio, 'File:Jose Maria Lopez 2014 WTCC Race of Japan.jpg', commons.wikimedia.org, (WikiMedia: Commons, 25/09/2014), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jose_Maria_Lopez_2014_WTCC_Race_of_Japan.jpg, (Accessed 24/04/2018)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sam Smith, 'FORMULA E: Dragon Confirms Lopez Return', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC. 11/10/2018), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/dragon-confirms-lopez-return/, (Accessed 11/10/2018)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 'DS VIRGIN RACING CONFIRM NEW LINE UP FOR 2016/17 FORMULA E SEASON: JOSE MARIA LOPEZ TO PARTNER BRITISH DRIVER SAM BIRD', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 07/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/ds-virgin-racing-confirm-new-line-up-for-201617-fia-formula-e-season/, (Accessed 08/07/2016)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 'Jose Maria Lopez replaces Neel Jani at DRAGON', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 05/01/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/january/jose-maria-lopez-replaces-neel-jani-at-dragon/, (Accessed 05/01/2018)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 'Frijns wins while Vergne claims historic two-time Championship title in New York', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 14/07/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/july/race-report-nyc-2-2019, (Accessed 15/07/2019)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Jamie Klein, 'Lopez questions Dragon FE driver decision', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 14/10/2019), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/lopez-dragon-decision-hartley-muller/4557835/, (Accessed 25/10/2019)
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 'José María López', wikipedia.org, (Wikipedia, 05/09/2016), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Mar%C3%ADa_L%C3%B3pez, (Accessed 10/09/2016)
- ↑ 'Buemi holds on in Hong Kong', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 09/10/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/october/buemi-holds-on-in-hong-kong/, (Accessed 09/10/2016)
- ↑ 'Buemi becomes hat-trick hero in Buenos Aires', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 18/02/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/february/buemi-becomes-hat-trick-hero-in-buenos-aires/, (Accessed 19/02/2017)
- ↑ 'Di Grassi produces masterpiece in Mexico', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 01/04/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/april/di-grassi-produces-masterpiece-in-mexico/, (Accessed 02/04/2017)
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 'Buemi hands Renault e.dams emotional Paris win', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 20/05/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/may/buemi-hands-renault-edams-emotional-paris-win/, (Accessed 21/05/2017)
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 'Lynn joins Bird for full-time drive at DS Virgin', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 05/09/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/september/lynn-joins-bird-for-full-time-drive-at-ds-virgin/, (Accessed 05/09/2017)
- ↑ 'Vergne victorious, Di Grassi wins title', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 30/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/vergne-victorious-di-grassi-wins-title/, (Accessed 30/07/2017)
- ↑ 'Lynn joins Bird for full-time drive at DS Virgin', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 05/09/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/september/lynn-joins-bird-for-full-time-drive-at-ds-virgin/, (Accessed 05/09/2017)
- ↑ 'Rosenqvist victorious in 2018 ABB FIA Formula E Marrakesh E-Prix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/01/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/january/rosenqvist-victorious-in-2018-abb-fia-formula-e-marrakesh-e-prix/, (Accessed 13/01/2018)
- ↑ 'Vergne steals the show in epic Santiago E-Prix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/02/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/february/vergne-steals-the-show-in-epic-santiago-e-prix/, (Accessed 03/02/2018)
- ↑ 'JEV holds off di Grassi in battle for Punta del Este', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 17/03/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/march/jev-holds-off-di-grassi-in-battle-for-punta-del-este/, (Accessed 17/03/2018)
- ↑ 'Bird claims historic victory in Rome', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 14/04/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/april/bird-claims-historic-victory-in-rome/, (Accessed 14/04/2018)
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 'Di Grassi victorious as Vergne clinches championship crown', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 14/07/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/july/di-grassi-victorious-as-vergne-clinches-championship-crown/, (Accessed 15/07/2018)
- ↑ 'Valencia Testing: Results Booklet', fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com, (FIA Formula E, 19/10/2018), http://fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com/Results/04_2018-19/00_Valencia%20Testing/92_ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20Championship/Valencia%20Testing%20Booklet.pdf, (Accessed 19/10/2018)
- ↑ 'Race Report: Da Costa - 'We did it baby, we're back!', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 15/12/2018), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/december/race-report-saudi, (Accessed 15/12/2018)
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 'Bird storms to victory in sweltering Santiago showdown', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/01/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/january/race-report-santiago-2019, (Accessed 27/01/2019)
- ↑ 'Madness in Mexico sees di Grassi clinch miraculous win in epic photo finish', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 16/02/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/february/race-report-mexico-2019, (Accessed 17/02/2019)
- ↑ 'Vergne victorious in Sanya showdown, championship blown wide open', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/03/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/march/race-report-sanya-2019, (Accessed 23/03/2019)
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 'Emotional maiden win for Evans in Rome, Lotterer second', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/04/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/april/race-report-rome-2019, (Accessed 13/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Vergne masters Monaco while Massa claims maiden Formula E podium ', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/05/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/may/race-report-monaco-2019, (Accessed 12/05/2019)
- ↑ 'Vergne victorious in frantic battle for Bern ahead of Championship finale', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 22/06/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/june/race-report-bern-2019, (Accessed 23/06/2019)