Zsolt Baumgartner


Zsolt Baumgartner was born in Debrecen, Hungary. is a former Formula One and current ChampCar racing driver employed by the Minardi team. He was the first Hungarian driver in Formula One. As of November 2007 he is the test and reserve driver for Minardi Team USA in the Champ Car World Series, which raced with Robert Doornbos and Dan Clarke as its drivers.

Baumgartner made his Formula One race debut at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, substituting for the injured Ralph Firman in the Jordan team; he also took part in the Italian Grand Prix that year.

Plans were made for Baumgartner to drive for Jordan again in 2004 with sponsorship from oil company Mol Rt. However, he failed to agree terms with Jordan, and he signed with Minardi instead. This caused Mol Rt. to decrease its sponsorship amount, leading Baumgartner and his management to set up a "Zsolt Baumgartner Supporter's Club", a plan similar to that employed by Justin Wilson in 2003.

Baumgartner failed to distinguish himself in the 2004 Formula One season; however, after two near-misses (9th in Monaco and 10th in Canada) he managed to take Minardi's first point in over 2 years by finishing 8th (albeit second last) in the US Grand Prix. Although his speed was not spectacular, he impressed many with his hard-working and determined approach. Michael Schumacher said he was one of the most intelligent backmarkers he has encountered in recent Formula One history.

In March 2007 he was confirmed as the test and reserve driver for Minardi Team USA, former boss Paul Stoddart's Champ Car World Series team.
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