Jose-Maria Lopez is set to return to the cockpit of a Formula E car next weekend when he fills the Dragon Racing seat recently vacated by Neel Jani.
Lopez, who scored two podium finishes with DS Virgin Racing last season, is in line to race for the American team alongside Jerome d’Ambrosio at the Marrakesh E-Prix.
Dragon Racing is understood to have moved quickly for Lopez after an agreement between team boss Jay Penske and Jani was reached over the Christmas holiday period to terminate their partnership.
E-racing365 understands that Jani actively sought an extrication from his contract soon after the season four opener in Hong Kong in early December.
Lopez, who is managed by Nicolas Todt, has been keen to find another berth since he was released by DS Virgin Racing in August. The Argentinian was in talks with Techeetah and one other team during the close-season, but missed out on a permanent drive for season four.
Lopez scored a best result of second place during his rookie Formula E season, coming at the Paris E-Prix last May, but was replaced by Alex Lynn in September.
It remains unclear if Lopez’s deal with Dragon will stretch for the entire fourth season. Unlike last term, there are currently no clashes between Formula E and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Lopez, who drove for the Toyota Gazoo Racing squad last season, could get a second season with the manufacturer, which is expected to name its complete driver roster later this month.
Should Lopez’s deal not go beyond Marrakesh, then Dragon may look at Robin Frijns, who was considered by the team for a test last summer before Jani’s deal materialized.
Both Maximilian Gunther and Andrea Caldarelli, who will test for Dragon on the Sunday after the Marrakesh E-Prix, are not eligible to race as they are both not currently in possession of a Formula E-licence.
Official confirmation of Lopez’s seat at Dragon is expected in the coming days.