Jose Maria Lopez: Missing New York Double-Header Cost Me Formula E Drive

by Morgan Price

Jose Maria Lopez remains without a drive for the 2017/18 Formula E season, which he believes was due to skipping the season’s New York double-header weekend in July in favour of competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Lopez entered the New York rounds ahead of team mate Sam Bird, however Bird was able to capitalise on Lopez’ absence and secure two wins, meaning Lopez was unable to catch Bird for the remainder of the season.

Speaking to Autosport, Lopez commented: “I was really expecting to have a place there [in Formula E]… But unfortunately it didn’t work out with Alex Tai [DS Virgin Racing Team Principal] .”

“I had a three-year deal, and we had a clause that said I had to score an amount of points compared with my team-mate. But as I missed the two races in New York, I couldn’t reach that objective.”

“It was not a problem of performance. I think Alex had something with another driver already, probably, and didn’t want to keep me in the team. I was not happy about that; I didn’t like the way I was treated.’

“I want to drive for the pleasure, to be in places that I feel comfortable – and that was not going to be the case at Virgin.”

In response to Lopez’ comments, Tai also told Autosport: “I have, and always will have, a huge amount of respect for ‘Pechito'”

“He’s a driver who understandably wants to race, so I can appreciate his frustration at not continuing with the team but the decision, as it would be for any Formula E team, is always more complex than it appears on face value, with numerous factors and stakeholders involved.”

“DS Virgin Racing has always focused on looking to the future and working to find and nurture new talent and that’s what we saw in Alex.’

“He’s proven himself a star of the future who, together with Sam, aligned with the long-term ambitions of the team.”

To date, Lopez remains without a drive in Formula E for the 2017/18 season, and is aiming to return for 2018/19.

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