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Baumgartner close to signing Minardi deal 17 Dec 2003

Zsolt Baumgartner (HUN) Jordan Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, 12 September 2003

Minardi announced on Wednesday that it has made an offer to Hungarian driver, Zsolt Baumgartner, to join the team as a race driver in 2004. The offer is conditional upon early completion of the relevant commercial arrangements, which the team hope will be resolved this week.

Baumgartner, 22, drove for Jordan in several Friday morning test sessions this year and also competed in two Grands Prix for them. Should he secure the Minardi race seat, he will line up alongside Italian Gianmaria Bruni, whose signing was confirmed last weekend.

"I have watched Zsolt's racing career since his F3000 days," commented Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. "I was hugely impressed by the way in which he conducted himself when thrust into the spotlight at his home Grand Prix, in Hungary, this year, stepping in for the injured Ralph Firman at very short notice.

"I'm sure he will be a real asset to European Minardi, and as he is fluent in five languages, including Italian, I am sure he will fit like a glove when it comes to working with the team. We look forward to a great season with Zsolt in 2004."