Lopez ‘realistic’ on FE future and admits results were ‘not good enough’
Jose Maria Lopez says he must be ‘realistic’ regarding his chances of staying in Formula E next season as he concedes his results have ‘not been good enough’.
The three-time World Touring Car champion has endured a challenging season with the Dragon Racing team, contributing just three points compared to rookie team-mate Maxi Günther’s total of 20.
With last weekend’s New York City E-Prix widely expected to be his last for Dragon, Lopez told E-Racing Magazine that his lack of results means he must realistic about his chances of finding a competitive seat in Formula E next year.
“[I feel] some frustration, yeah of course. If you look at my year I had some good qualifying’s, P3, second in Riyadh, some superpoles, some good partial performance. We’ve just never been able to close the race and that frustration is normal,” said Lopez.
“I wish to stay [in Formula E], I’ve been here three years, I think I’m capable of doing good things but I cannot say anything today, nothing is confirmed. I’ll see what the options are, but as I say, my intention is to stay.”
Lopez feels his results do not accurately reflect his on-track performances this season and admits that being outscored by his rookie team-mate does not help when trying to secure a deal for next season.
“I have to be realistic, my results haven’t been good enough this year and even if I know probably 80% [of the races I’ve had] technical issues or a problem and I haven’t had many incidents, somehow I just couldn’t put a weekend together,” he said.
“It’s hard to get some options this way, but maybe [after] this weekend something comes up, maybe not. We’ll see. I’ve been in this sport many years, nearly thirty years racing so I know how it works.”
With a Toyota LMP1 seat confirmed for next year, Lopez says his priority is now on securing a first Le Mans victory in 2020 and suggested he’ll only return to Formula E if it is with a competitive team able to fight for podiums.
“I have my main programme which is WEC today, I’ve got a contract for next year and my objective is to go back and finally win Le Mans and try to become [world champion],” said Lopez.
“The performance has been very good with Toyota. I’ve been performing well and I have fantastic teammates so that’s the priority. If I can combine [a seat in WEC] with Formula E and have a good option to fight for podiums then that’ll be great but as I said today it’s harder when you don’t have the results.”
Lopez also added his frustration at the uncertainty surrounding team-mate Günther this season and admits he pushed for the team to keep him due to his impressive performances.
“It’s not ideal for any driver [to have uncertainty], you need to feel comfortable, you need to know that the team trusts you, you need to have a kind of stability as well,” he said.
“Of course, when you see your teammate changing so much it brings a bit of an unknown thing. At one point I suggested [the team should] keep Max because he has been doing a great job.
“He’s a quick guy, strong, dedicated and we managed to work together. It’s important to bring stability to every area of the team and of course when you see [drivers being changed] it’s not the best thing, but it is what it is.”
ROB WATTS and HARRY SLADE
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