F1 bottom-feeders Minardi have offered Zsolt Baumgartner a contract for 2004. If the Hungarian accepts the deal, veteran Jos Verstappen’s last hope to stay in F1 will lie with Jordan.

F1 bottom-feeders Minardi have offered Zsolt Baumgartner a contract for 2004. If the Hungarian accepts the deal, veteran Jos Verstappen’s last hope to stay in F1 will lie with Jordan.


The deal is contingent on the completion of necessary commercial arrangements, although the Faenza-based team is hopeful that Baumgartner's place in the team can be finalised before the end of the week.


Baumgartner raced in Formula 3000 for the majority of the season, although he competed in two grands prix for Jordan, deputising for the injured Ralph Firman in Hungary and Italy.


"I have watched Zsolt's racing career since his F3000 days," said Minardi boss 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 Minardi, and as he is fluent in five languages, including Italian, I am sure he will fit in like a glove when it comes to working with the team. We look forward to a great season with Zsolt in 2004," the Australian added.


Should Baumgartner secure the drive, he will join the team’s new signing, Italian Gianmaria Bruni.


Jordan-Ford is now the only team still to complete its driver line-up for the 2004 season. Current Minardi driver Verstappen's sponsors have been talking to the Silverstone-based team this week about a race seat for next year, but the Dutchman will be competing with Britons Ralph Firman and Justin Wilson .


“Now is the time to look properly at the status of the Jordan team,” said Raymond Vermeulen, who represents one of Verstappen's sponsors. “It's not just a question of what Jos can offer them, but also what they can offer Jos.


“The first talks about a seat with Jordan took place at Monza , and we've been planning to meet again for a while,” Vermeulen said on Verstappen's personal website.

Original article from Car