Lopez backed by Argentine Government

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
You may have seen the reports that the Argentine government is bank rolling Jose Marie Lopez's seat at USF1.

Is this the first time a government has bank rolled a driver? Probably not, if my memory serves the pre-war Auto Union team itself was paid for by the German government and the drivers, unsurprisingly were all German.
But certainly in the modern era I can't think of a driver who has had direct government backing.

This link takes you to Andrew Bensons blog at the BBC which includes a picture of Lopez with the Argentine President and Peter Windsor grinning like a Cheshire cat (presumably thinkng about all the Peso's now coming his way). How much pressure must Lopez be under not to make a complete Horlicks of this adventure and how long will the money keep coming if (or, more likely, when) the USF1 car turns out to be a complete pup?

So is this the future for F1? China put a lot of money into their Grand Prix will they now bank roll a driver? Will we see Alex Yoong back in an F1 car with backing from the Malaysian goverment? India and Korea both wants to have races presumably they would like to have a driver on the grid to bring the crowds in.

There have always been pay drivers in F1 but this has raised things to another level. Talent doesn't appear to count for much anymore, unfortunately.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I can't say that this one bothers me nearly as much as governments bankrolling F1 circuits and races at the expense of others with long-standing histories in the sport.

From all accounts that I have found, Lopez only brings $5 million. It is rumored that Petrov has $15 million in support, yet I see no outcry over that. To me, the source of the money is irrelevant. In any case, if they don't have the talent, their tenure in F1 will be brief.

It is also a fact that drivers of certain nationalities are given much longer grace periods to establish themselves than others. It isn't fair, but nobody ever said that life was fair.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Being old (and Australian) I recall that New Zealand had a "Driver to Europe" program which sent talented drivers from that country to compete in Europe. It might be wise to look at the Lopez situation in the same light. Since the NZ program was responsible for bringing us the likes of Bruce McLaren and Denis Hulme, I cannot imagine any true motorsports fan saying that the sport would have been better off had that program never existed.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I sincerely hope Lopez does well, I read somewhere else that USF1 considered him on the recommendation of Carlos Reutemann who now holds some sort of political office in Argentina. You would hope he is a decent judge of racing talent.

Various countries have had programs to generate racing drivers. I recall Arnoux, Prost, Tambay etc. came out of the Elf program which I believe is a French Goverment owned company and Elf sponsorship followed these drivers through their careers. Schumacher, Frentzen and Wendlinger came out of the Mercedes young driver program, not sure if there was any state funding behind this though. And there have been many young driver programs here in the UK, usually financed either by oil or tobacco money.

My problems with the Lopez deal is the direct link to government. Perhaps they are being open and honest and we should applaud the Argentine Government for this but what effect might this have on Lopez and also on other young Argentine drivers coming through the system? Can anyone who now shows a modicum of talent expect the government to pay for their F1 seat? The pressure on Lopez will be immense as he is now the "Argentine National Driver", wouldn't it have been better to dress this up in state oil sponsorship or one of the banks or something?
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
FB said:
The pressure on Lopez will be immense as he is now the "Argentine National Driver", wouldn't it have been better to dress this up in state oil sponsorship or one of the banks or something?
Argentinian drivers would be the "new Fangio" as sure as their footballers are "new Maradona"s, so there is no real chance. Unless its Gaston Mazzacane. He was never the new Fangio. Or Reutemann!
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
siffert_fan said:
I can't say that this one bothers me nearly as much as governments bankrolling F1 circuits and races at the expense of others with long-standing histories in the sport.
Well said.
 
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