Zsolt Baumgartner

Zsolt Baumgartner began racing career in karts when he was 13. The son of a major Renault dealer in Hungary, he then went into Formula Renault in 1997 with Walter Lechner's team in the German Formula Renault Championship. In 1998 he moved to the Prost Junior Team in Formula Renault and afterwards spent 1999 racing for Cram Competition in the European Renault series, in which he finished third. He moved to German Formula 3 in 2000 with GM Motorsport but after there were no great results switched to Trella Motorsport in the Italian Formula 3 series before moving to F3000 in the mid-season with Prost Junior Team. In 2002 he joined the Coca-Cola Nordic Racing team and in the midseason did his first F1 demonstration runs at the Hungarian GP. In 2003 he switched to Coloni Motorsport but again failed to make much of an impression. However in August he was able to buy his way to be the Jordan test driver at the Hungarian GP. When Ralph Firman crashed Baumgartner joined the team and as Firman was not recovered in time for the Italian GP he raced there too. In 2004 he joined Minardi, thanks to a large amount of money from his sponsors, but did a better job than expected against Gianmaria Bruni.