DECEMBER 23, 2003
Baumgartner deal to be concluded today
Zsolt Baumgartner will be the second Minardi driver in 2004, if everything goes to plan today. The contract with Minardi is already signed but it does not come into effect until the Hungarian driver meets certain financial obligations, which are believed to be payments to the team. The money involved is in the region of $8m, around half of which comes from the Hungarian government. The authorities in Budapest are willing to pay for Baumgartner because they consider the Hungarian Grand Prix to be of vital importance to the country's tourist industry. The event brings large numbers of foreigners to Budapest each summer, contributing tens of millions of dollars to the economy during their visit. It is estimated that Formula 1 races bring between $40m and $70m to a region each year in direct income, in addition to the benefits from the global exposure which the sport generates. Thus an investment of $4m by the government of Hungary is a small amount, compared to the revenues being generated.
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