Flag Day: When Pechito López waved it on a Formula 1

It was during an exhibition he made in the 200 Kilometers of Buenos Aires on a Williams.

El 7 October 2007, within the framework of 200 Kilometers of Buenos Aires of TC2000, Jose Maria Lopez He moved an entire country when he held an exhibition on a Williams de F1. Obviously, the culminating moment of those thorough laps on the track of the Buenos Aires racetrack was when he took the Argentina flag and he showed it to the thousands of people in the stands.

It was less than a year since the Maxima had turned its back on the Cordoba, who for some time had been waiting for his opportunity from the hand of the team Renault. With no place in the Rombo program for young drivers, Pechito returned to the country to continue showing his talent on all types of cars.

“If I miss something about my time in Europe, it is this: being able to get into a Formula 1. That was one of the few sporting satisfactions that I had in recent years… Nothing from GP2 Series or Formula 3000, where the results were not good. . What I miss the most is driving a Formula 1 ". Lopez's words were accompanied by a particular gleam in his eyes. Thus he spoke about this new possibility that arose from getting on a car of the highest category of world motorsport, if only to return to make an exhibition as he had done the previous year in this same event.

As planned, the Williams-Toyota In 2006 he stepped on the track of the Buenos Aires racetrack five times, the first three were on Saturday and the rest on Sunday. The Saturday departures were for the Cordovan to take his hand and to check the correct operation of the vehicle.

“Here I had no possibility of working with the tuning of the car. They gave it to me with a preset setting and all I did was drive. The gearbox was related to a simulation program, while ground clearance and downforce were arranged to make the car as safe as possible.”, JML told in the intimacy of the box that was attended by the twenty people sent by the English team for this demonstration.

At mid-morning on that Sunday there was another short batch to finalize all the details for the great moment, which arrived shortly before noon through a "speed challenge" where he faced an official Honda Civic driven by Carlos Okulovich and even Honda new civic of street managed by Juan Manuel Silva.

Without the pressure of setting a time or having to develop something, López took the experience in stride, but wanted to enjoy it to the fullest. “Being able to be back inside an F-1 is great. I missed sitting in such a tight cockpit. It's a nice feeling ", said the one from Río Tercero, who applauded when the good weather erased any possibility of rain watering down the party ... his party.

The results achieved in the TC2000, the Top Race and Road Tourism they opened the doors to F.1 again, although this time the blow was harder: he had signed a contract to be a starter in the 2010 season of the USF1, but the team never existed ...

López composed himself of this new distaste by accelerating, as always. And when going back outside seemed like a distant dream, the WTCC came to this part of the world to perform one of his dates in Rio Hondo hot springs. At the insistence of his father he got into an old BMW with which he won a race. That success was key to Citroën, who was working on his landing in the category, allowed him to start a new stage in his sporting life.

López repaid so much confidence in the best possible way: achieving the titles of 2014, 2015 y 2016, something that allowed our country to once again have world recognitions as it happened at the time of Juan Manuel Fangio in F.1.

Obviously in all the celebrations of José María López, whether in the WTCC or in the minor categories that saw him shine in Europe as the Italian Formula Renault (champion in 2002) and the Formula Renault V6 European (King in 2003), there was always something that accompanied him: our beautiful light blue and white flag.


Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

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