Tamás Pal Kiss is quite possibly the best open-wheel racer to have ever come out of Hungary. The twenty-two year old from Miskolc is competing for the Zele Racing outfit for the 2014 Auto GP World Series, having raced in the series for three teams in 2013, including Zele. In the twelve races he competed in last year, he never finished outside the top eight, with a best finish of third in the first race at Silverstone.
“It is always good to be back at a team that you know already and I have already felt at home in the previous year with Zele Racing,” said Pal Kiss to Checkered Flag. “I don’t feel any extra and unneeded pressure, we know each other’s weaknesses and strengths and we try to sort and strengthen them all to bring good results.”
Pal Kiss spoke about how trying racing for three different teams in 2013 was for him, and how his season went as a whole. He joined Auto GP for the round at his home circuit at the Hungaroring with Team MLR71, and then switched to Zele for Silverstone and Mugello, then to the Ibiza Racing Team for the Nurburgring and Donington Park, before finishing the season back at Zele at Brno.
“It is probably one of the most difficult situations for every driver, very difficult it was. I mean you just do not know the engineers, the mechanics, [or the] team personnel, and you have to prove straight away that you are able to bring results. It did luckily happen most of the times at the early stages.
“I do believe I did start the 2013 season quite well as I finished P2 at the qualifying at the Hungaroring round even knowing that I had not driven any car for 6 months at that stage. There were some mistakes from my side as well as from the teams too. But honestly it took me a little while to get use to the style of the Auto GP car.”
Looking ahead to the 2014 season, the Hungarian was satisfied with how his pre-season testing went, and is excited to be partnered within Zele Racing by Italian Sergio Campana, who finished third in the 2013 championship with the Ibiza Racing Team.
“The very first laps felt quite fast but I am satisfied with the performance I could put down on the table,” insisted Pal Kiss. “I felt like I just got out of the car from Jerez but since that, in the last 5 months I was not driving any racing car.
“Of course in the second season, which is a full season, I should aim to fight for the title. I am at least aiming to be in the top 3.
“He [Campana] is a very fast driver and a strong team-mate with who you can work hard together and rise the competition between team mates. We should have some good races!”
Looking into the future, he talks about the only previous Hungarian to make it into Formula 1, Zsolt Baumgartner, who raced for Jordan and Minardi in the mid-2000’s, before stating his own dreams about where he’d like to race.
“I feel lucky because I have a feel of development every time I drive a car. I would be happy to drive more and it is a never-ending progress if everything goes well.
“Zsolt made a long and difficult way to Formula 1 and not many people see how difficult it was. It would be nice to be there at one stage but if I am honest with myself it is nearly impossible seeing what the actual situation is in F1 today. But as always nothing is impossible.
“It is mainly because I ran out of opportunities and I could not raise enough sponsorship to be in any of those championships [GP2, Formula Renault 3.5]. I am so happy that I received so many help from the Auto GP teams because it did look like I was at the end of my career in the beginning of 2013. Now I would prefer to make a move maybe next year to a series like DTM, I would be very proud to be part of that championship.”