Zsolt Baumgartner is a Hungarian former racing driver and the only racer from Hungary to ever compete in the Formula One World Championship. Baumgartner recorded two starts with Jordan in 2003 and eighteen starts with Minardi in 2004, scoring one single championship point.
Zsolt Baumgartner - the only Hungarian F1 driver
Early years in the Formula Renault, Formula Ford and Formula 3
Born in January 1981 in Debrecen, Baumgartner started his racing career in 1997, entering both the German Formula Renault and German Formula Ford with Lechner Racing team. Next year, his main competition was the French Formula Renault and then the European Formula Renault in 1999. He finished third in the points, behind Gianmaria Bruni and Antonio Pizzonia.
Baumgartner spent two more seasons in the German Formula 3 in 2000 and 2001, driving a Dallara-Opel for GM Motorsport and Klaus Trella Motorsport. Scoring no wins, Baumgartner finished 13th in the points in 2000 and 17th in the final standings in 2001.
Zsolt Baumgartner in the 1991 Formula 3000 Championship
Three seasons in the Formula 3000
In 2001, Baumgartner joined Prost Junior Team in the International Formula 3000 Championship, making a debut in the sixth round at Nurburgring. Driving the #12 Lola-Zytek, Baumgartner's best finish was 13th place at Spa.
In 2002, he spent F3000 season with Coca-Cola Nordic Racing, driving the #2 Lola-Zytek in all twelve rounds. He scored just one point with a sixth-place finish at Monza. In 2003, Baumgartner joined Coloni Motorsport and participated in eight F3000 races, scoring points two times at Catalunya and Monaco.
Baumgartner tested for Jordan-Honda in 2002 and made an F1 debut with Jordan-Ford in 2003
Formula One debut at 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix
Baumgartner's F3000 season was interrupted when he started his Formula One career in August 2003. He joined Jordan F1 team at German Grand Prix as a test driver and then made an F1 race debut in his home event Hungarian Grand Prix. He replaced Ralph Firman who was injured during a practice.
Driving the #12 Jordan EJ13-Ford, Baumgartner started 19th on the grid and stayed in the game for half of the race, retiring after 34 laps due to engine failure. Three weeks later, he made his second Grand Prix start at Monza. He finished the race in 11th place, two laps behind race winner Michael Schumacher (Ferrari).
Zsolt Baumgartner as Minardi F1 Team driver in 2004
2004 - full F1 season with Minardi
There was a plan for Baumgartner to join Jordan in the 2004 F1 season but the plan failed, so he signed with Minardi instead. He was driving the #21 Minardi PS04B-Cosworth, with Gianmaria Bruni as his teammate in the #20 car.
He was close to points at Monaco (9th) and Canada (10th), and then managed to win one point with 8th-place finish at the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Later in the season, he was far from the points, finishing the season 20th in the final standings.
Baumgartner had no ride for 2005, so the end of 2004 season marked also the end of his career. In the following years, he had testing duties with some teams but he raced never again.
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