European Minardi Cosworth has announced that it has today made an offer to Hungarian driver, Zsolt Baumgartner, to join the team as a race driver in 2004. As the Faenza squad wishes to finalise its driver line-up before the Christmas break, the offer is conditional on the early completion of the necessary commercial arrangements. It is hoped that the matter will be resolved this week.
"I have watched Zsolt￢ﾀﾙ' racing career since his F3000 days," comments European 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."
The real problem is that Jos Verstappen's management as desperate to get the Dutchman a drive, preferably with Jordan. Now, with only two seats left for 2004, and with Baumgartner being a possibility for both teams, Jos may eventually have to be safisfied if he gets a seat at all. His main sponsor Trust has already started negotiations with Jordan.
Since both teams are small and are looking for financial support from the driver they hire both parties will urge to sign a contract, since that would secure them both for next season. The driver is then confident of a drive, while the team on their hand can start using the needed money.