Christian Klien almost didn't make it to Friday Practice 1
It turned out today that HRT test and reserve driver Christian Klien was only granted his Superlicence 10 minutes before the start of Friday Practice 1.
The Austrian driver was being offered to drive in FP1 as part of being the team’s second reserve driver, alongside Sakon Yamamoto. However, his debut drive for the team nearly didn’t happen at all, as Christian explains:
"It was a bit exciting today as I got my Superlicense only ten
minutes before the start of the first practice session!
Fortunately, everything had been prepared perfectly and then I was
allowed to jump into the car.
I had 90 great minutes in the car. It was my first time in a Formula
1 car since January last year and felt perfect right away; I was
able to feel the limits of the car and posted constant times, which
will help the engineers - I was able to give them important feedback
to improve, in terms of setup, and my work with top teams will help
I’m glad that Klien is being given a chance to drive in F1 again, but he still needs a good car to be able to prove himself. However, the fact that he beat Bruno Senna by an entire half a second in only 90 minutes of practice shows what potential he has.
The problem is the testing ban. With this, test and reserve drivers, especially young drivers, will be unable to get attention for themselves and therefore struggle to get race drive positions. One idea I had would be a “reserve driver test”, once or twice a year, where the test and reserve drivers would test and develop the car. This would help the teams with their development, and also give a chance for reserve drivers to show what they are worth. I’ll write more on this idea after this weekend.
Christian Klien will drive in the Spanish FP1
HRT have announced that their test driver Christian Klien will replace Karun Chandhok for Friday Practice 1 in Barcelona this weekend. The Austrian driver had just joined HRT this week as their second test driver alongside Sakon Yamamoto.
As well as Fairuz Fauzy and Paul di Resta, Klien will be the third test driver so far this year to be given driving time during the race weekend.Colin Kolles said this about him:
"He is a young and fast driver. I have been keeping a close eye on
him since his first races in the ADAC series as I believe he has
great potential. We look forward to having Christian alongside us in
Barcelona later this week so he can spend some valuable
familiarization time with the team. As a young team we are looking
or drivers who can grow with us."
Klien last raced in F1 when he replaced Jenson Button at Honda for one race at the 2007 British Grand Prix. It’s great to see him be given another chance, because he was never really given space to show his potential.
Just one problem I have though: HRT really need to announce news like this better. I only found out that Yamamoto was a test driver by accident, and I only heard about Klien today, even though he was signed earlier this week. And this is just the view of an F1 fan, think of how potential sponsors must be feeling. HRT should definitely shout a bit louder about themselves if they are to progress in the F1 world.