The day was June, 20th 2004. The race was the United States Grand Prix. The Result, Zsolt Baumgartner scored his only point of his career and did it driving for Minardi. Now some of you will say, but isn’t that the race all the Michelin teams pulled out of, no you’re wrong that was 2005. Instead our hero Zsolt participated in some Darwinism, survival of the fittest. While 11 cars retired from the race, Zsolt survived to finish 8th. Thus scoring a point and moving into the exclusive club of F1 point scorers.
Zsolt Baumgartner is not a name anyone remembers in Formula One. However for myself as a 13 year old kid watching F1 in the states I thought he had the greatest name ever. Still do, such a fun name to say. Say it a few times, it’s incredible. Like Yuniesky Betancourt for the Milwaukee Brewers, just a fun name to say. Zsolt was the little guy that could, the guy who brought money to a ride that honestly Paul Stoddart should have been paying people to drive it was that bad. Minardi’s were always known as being the last place team. It was like getting drafted by a shit squad like say the New Orleans Pelicans and having to prove yourself there before the Lakers would take you. Prove you can survive at Minardi and hopefully you’ll go to greener pastures.
One thing that he did do that was really the first of it’s kind. He crowd sourced money to continue his F1 career. Justin Wilson did the same thing in 2003 and we’ve seen some drivers do it since. That’s real passion for racing, that’s doing anything to keep the dream alive. He wasn’t a stellar F3000 driver, in fact only scored 7 points in 3 seasons. Yet he parlayed that into an F1 career. He’s the poor mans Pastor Maldonado or Lance Stroll, even retired as much as they did too.
He remains to this day the only Hungarian driver to race in Formula One. Obviously he’s Hungarian, look at those caterpillars he has for eyebrows. Good lord man. After that 2004 season his career fell apart a bit. He was the test driver for Minardi Champ Car in 2007 and then tested in SuperLeague but that was it. Since that time Zsolt has been off the racing grid. A ghost of F1 obscurity, a name that lives on due to the uniqueness.
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