Is it fair, are they shaping and
December 2003 News
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23 December: The Minardi team announced their second driver for the 2004 season today. Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner has managed to secure backing from the Hungarian Government guaranteeing him the second Minardi seat. Earlier Jos Verstappen dropped out of contention as his major backer Trust decided not to renew their sponsorship of the team. Justin Wilson also lost out after failing to secure enough sponsorship behind him.
Zsolt Baumgartner was delighted with the announcement
and said "For me, Christmas has definitely come early this year. The two
races I did this past season made me more determined than ever that I wanted
to be in Formula One. I have now realised that dream, although I donít think
the reality of it has quite sunk in yet.
Minardi Team Principal Paul Stoddart said "We are very pleased that we have been able to finalise Zsoltís contract at this time. I believe he has considerable ability, and hopefully, the nurturing environment within Minardi, which has helped to launch the Formula One careers of so many talented young drivers in recent years, will also allow him to develop and hone his skills to the point where he firmly establishes his credentials at the very top level of motor racing."
13 December: The Minardi team announced
today that Italian Gianmaria Bruni will drive for the team in 2004.
Bruni had a testing role with the team this year and has impressed team boss
Paul Stoddart. Stoddart said "We've obviously had the benefit of
observing 'Gimmi' at close quarters because of his testing role with Minardi
and we're extremely pleased to have been able to sign him as a race driver for
the 2004 season.
Gianmaria Bruni was delighted with the announcement and
said "I'm just so happy, from when I was a small boy, I wanted only to be
a Formula One driver. I'm one of the lucky ones, because that dream has now
come true. My clear goal will be to improve with the team this coming season.
This is only the first step, however, as I will just be one of 20 drivers on
the grid at the beginning.
Minardi have yet to announce their second driver. The only other available seats are at Jordan who have yet to announce their line-up for the 2004 season. Click here for the 2004 Team and Driver Line-up Page
12 December: The
World Motor Sport Council met today and decided to
move the 2004 British Grand Prix to the 11th of July (was the 4th) while the
French Grand Prix was moved forward to the 4th of July but remained
2 December: Best & Worst of 2003 - Final results:
2 December: The Jaguar team announced today that Austrian Christian Klien will partner Mark Webber in 2004. 20 year old Klien who raced in Formula BMW, Formula Renault and Formula 3 only tested for Jaguar last week but it appears that the team was so impressed with him that they've decided to sign him rather than extend Justin Wilson's contract.
David Pitchforth, the Managing Director of Jaguar
Racing commented on Christian's test last week as well as his signing and said
"Christian was in as much control of himself as he was the car. He was
extremely calm, composed and didn't seem remotely fazed by his first ever
experience with a Formula One car. His technical feedback was excellent and
there is no doubt in our minds about the potential of this exciting new young
talent. He worked very well with the race engineers and demonstrated
increasing speed as he became familiar with the car.
Christian Klien was naturally delighted with the
announcement and said "Knowing that I am a Jaguar F1 driver has made me
the happiest man on earth! I have worked tirelessly over the years to get to
this point but I appreciate also that the real hard work for me starts now. I
am indebted to Jaguar Racing for giving me an opportunity to prove my worth
and I intend repaying Jaguar through hard work, commitment and ultimately,
results on the race track.
David Pitchforth thanked Wilson for his efforts and said "I cannot thank Justin enough for his hard work and commitment since joining us after the British Grand Prix. Justin's speed, focus and experience are exemplary and our decision to put Christian in the race car in no way reflects upon Justin's clear ability as a competitive racing driver. We are, however, in discussions with Justin about how Jaguar Racing can help with his future career."