New faces for 2004 - the rookies 03 Mar 2004
Who are the newcomers to the Grand Prix grid?
The 20-strong driver line-up for the 2004 Formula One season features six changes from last year. Two of the names are former Grand Prix regulars - BAR's Takuma Sato and Sauber's Felipe Massa - but the other four may not be so familiar to you.
Christian Klien (20), Jaguar:
Jaguar driver Mark Webber was one of the sensations of last season. This year new team mate Klien (pronounced 'clean') could just be another. The young Austrian spent only two days in a Formula One car before being awarded his race seat with the Ford-owned team and sceptics will argue that his Red Bull backing had more than a little to do with Jaguar's decision.
However, Klien's motorsport credentials are impressive. Despite his tender age, he already has around eight years of race experience, the last five in single-seaters. He won the 2002 German Formula Renault Championship before a sensational debut in the Euro F3 series last season, taking the Championship almost down to the wire with eventual winner, Ryan Briscoe. He also won the coveted Marlboro Masters race at Zandvoort.
Giorgio Pantano (25), Jordan:
Pantano's name has been a familiar one in the Formula One paddock for a number of years, the Italian having first tested a Grand Prix car with Benetton as long ago as 2000. It was no surprise he had the attention of F1 team bosses - that year he won the German Formula Three championship at his first attempt, in what was also his very first full season of single-seater racing.
Since then he has won Formula 3000 races with three different teams (the first man ever to do so), finishing second and third respectively in the last two championships, and has tested with both the McLaren and Williams Formula One teams. He has even won a Formula One race - one of Minardi's promotional two-seater events at Donington Park. While Pantano may be the oldest of this year's rookies, he has arguably the most impressive F1 credentials.
Zsolt Baumgartner (23), Minardi:
Hungarian driver Zsolt Baumgartner is not strictly a rookie - he drove for Jordan in Hungary and Italy last year, stepping in for the injured Ralph Firman - but this will be his first full season of Formula One racing. Like Pantano, with whom he was team mates at Coloni in 2002, he steps up from the International F3000 series.
Baumgartner won the German Formula Renault 2000 series in 1999, before switching to German Formula Three for a season and a half, scoring one podium finish. He moved to F3000 midway through 2001, taking his first points the following year. Last season he finished 14th in the series, combining it with his testing and occasional race duties at Jordan.
Gianmaria Bruni (22), Minardi:
Gianmaria (Gimmi to his friends) Bruni was a regular test driver with Minardi in 2003, taking part in several of the Friday morning sessions at Grands Prix. He was also busy competing in the F3000 Euro series, in which he finished a respectable third, a major improvement on the 12th place he scored in his 2002 debut campaign.
Prior to this Bruni had proved himself in the highly competitive British Formula Three championship. The Roman finished fifth overall as the top rookie in his debut year (2000), then achieved the same placing the following year, scoring a race victory and six more podiums in the process. On top of that he took fourth place at the Zandvoort Marlboro Masters event, racing against the world's best F3 drivers, including winner Takuma Sato.