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Lopez nearing switch from US F1 to Campos

ESPNF1 Staff
February 24, 2010 « Press slams Ferrari attacks | »
Jose Maria Lopez looks set to join Campos ahead of the start of the season © Sutton Images

Jose Maria Lopez's move from US F1 to Campos could be announced on Thursday, after his manager said a resolution to the uncertainty surrounding his future was possible in the next 24 hours.

US F1 appears to be in financial trouble and has asked to miss the first four races of the season to catch up on the development of its car. Lopez signed a deal to drive for the Charlotte-based squad in return for sponsorship, but now looks set to switch allegiance to the rejuvenated Campos outfit. Lopez's manager, Felipe McGough, has said his driver needs to be at all the races this season and that he will take the necessary action to make sure his obligations to his sponsors, which includes the Argentine government, are fulfilled.

"We had six hours of meetings with the investors of the USF1 and the new owners of the Campos Meta team," McGough told radio Cadena 3 Cordoba. "We discussed the possibility of a merger, but most important is that whatever the outcome, Jose Maria is included in the project."

There are also rumours that YouTube's Chad Hurley, who is a principal backer of the US F1 project, may also take his money to Campos. In a separate report in the Diario Hoy newspaper, McGough mentioned Hurley by name, who was represented in the meetings by his advisor Parris Mullins.

"Although the clock is running against us and anxiety is great, I think that after the meetings the outlook for Lopez is clearer," he said, before adding that Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management have also helped to try to find a solution for Lopez.

The Argentine daily newspaper La Nacion said the parties, including FOM, will meet again on Wednesday in Spain.

Meanwhile Formula Renault champion Bertrand Baguette, who has been linked to the remaining Campos seat too, all but ruled himself out of the running.

"F1 is my goal," he said. "There remains a small chance to be on the grid of the first grand prix, [but] my budget is not enough. The sponsors want contract before they help me, but to have a contract, you need money. There are possibilities in the Superleague, IRL and GP2. Nothing is decided yet," said Baguette."

Indian GP2 driver Karun Chandhok has also been linked to the drive.