Christian Klien to drive for HRT on Friday

Former BMW tester Christian Klien has joined HRT as the Spanish team’s reserve and third driver.

He will participate in the Friday practice sessions in Barcelona this weekend.

Klien made his F1 debut at Jaguar in 2004 alongside Mark Webber. The Austrian remained at the team when it became Red Bull, initially sharing his drive with Vitantonio Liuzzi, but was dropped late in 2006 and replaced by Robert Doornbos.

He has started 46 F1 races and last appeared at a Grand Prix weekend driving for Honda as a substitute for Jenson Button in practice for the 2007 British Grand Prix.

Klien will continue to drive for Peugeot in the Le Mans Series. He joins Sakon Yamamoto as HRT’s two reserve drivers. Team principal Colin Kolles said:

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.
Colin Kolles

Read more: 2010 F1 drivers and teams

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24 comments on Christian Klien to drive for HRT on Friday

  1. steph said on 5th May 2010, 9:44

    He has some F1 experience so he’ll be good for them. This isn’t that surprising as I read an interview somewhere hinting at this. This may be a while opff but I hope HRT don’t give either of their drivers the elbow but again Klien’s real valuewhen working in the team is his experience, getting to the team was probably money.
    I;ve never been a fan of his though.

  2. OEL said on 5th May 2010, 9:55

    I don’t think Senna or Chandhook are happy about this, as they need time in the car. If Klien really can improve the car better than the race drivers, or if he brings money for HRT to improve it, then I can understand the decision. But I don’t like to see race drivers replaced during practice. I think the FIA should introduce a practice session for the reserve drivers at each weekend to prevent this.

  3. Robert McKay said on 5th May 2010, 9:55

    With the addition of Klein I wonder precisely what it is they have signed Sakon Yamamoto to do.

    But yeah, a small bone for Klein, this. It’s a dg of a car but maybe someone with his relative experience (compared to Chandhok and Senna) can help them with their development and growth.

    All the fun of driving in F1 and keeping your name visible without the horde of top-line drivers giving you daggers because you got in their way in quali and the race. Possibly.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th May 2010, 10:23

      With the addition of Klein I wonder precisely what it is they have signed Sakon Yamamoto to do.

      Two words:



      • LOL!! My thoughts exactly

        • Robert McKay said on 5th May 2010, 11:21

          Yeah but presumably they signed up his money on some basis…i.e. being no. 1 reserve or getting in on some friday practice action or something – so if Klein pushes him down the order might he not take that ka-ching somewhere else?

      • Scribe said on 5th May 2010, 11:53

        I love that we have at least three drivers on the current grid, who never drive the car, are paying into the millions to be there, possibly just so they can wear the most expensive baseball caps in exsitence.

      • Icthyes said on 5th May 2010, 13:56

        Is that Japanese for “useless driver”? :P

        Oh wait, the Japanese for “useless driver” is “Sakon Yamamoto” ;-)

    • macahan said on 5th May 2010, 15:23

      Personally I’m a bit baffled here. they signed Senna and Chandhok because that was what they could afford. Now they have two spare drivers both far more experienced then their real drivers. Could this indicate that there might be a driver shift down the road? Or is it just as suggested a way to get money into the team? A pay test driver that might not do any driving or very little sounds just strange to me.
      But one thing is certain they need someone that knows what they are doing and can help develop the car and I’m sure Senna and Chandhok could be good drivers just they don’t have the experience to develop a car just experience to help setup a car.

      To me it would made more sense to signed and put Klein in the car as a driver from the start. Yamamoto well no real comment besides mostly useless. :P

    • BasCB said on 6th May 2010, 8:45

      I do think i saw an article about Klein and HRT a week ago, but there he said he missed out on that. At the same time Kolles was quoted to “be glad Sakon adds his experience to the team”.

      Maybe they give Klein the opportunity to help changing the car, testing some developments they want to make or giving input.
      Then the regular drivers get back in, and somewhere in the last couple of races (Japan, Korea) Sakon gets the friday drive to have value for the sponsor.

  4. Ben said on 5th May 2010, 10:06

    This is going to put the pressure on Chandhok and Senna. Hopefully Klein can help with the car and provide some worthwhile input as well.

    Its good to see him back in a car (even in a minor role), I always rated him (not too highly, but mid-field sort of level), and thought he was noticably better than Liuzzi.

  5. Klein is here for his experience, and especially if he has a particularly fat wallet.

    The race drivers need to raise their game though, because I am sure Klien just see’s this as a step and not a full time position. Personally I don’t see that as a bad thing, drivers under pressure to perform… they all are ultimately.

  6. wasiF1 said on 5th May 2010, 11:00

    He was one of the rising star in F1 when he raced for Red Bull, it was sad not to see him racing since 2005. I hope in the near future he gets to drive in some races for the HRT team.

    • Ben said on 5th May 2010, 11:11

      I would prefer to see him get some races for another team and not Hispania.

      • wasiF1 said on 5th May 2010, 17:12

        Every team have their third driver seat full so I think this season it will be tough for him to race with any of the front running team, but if he can impressed then he may get a job in 2011.

  7. GeeMac said on 5th May 2010, 11:23

    Any idea who he will be subtituting? Or are Bruno and Karun just going ot toss a coin?

  8. Klien was only ever a Red Bull driver because of his nationality. I never thought he achieved anything of note in F1 and I’m not over the moon to see him back, but at least his experience should bring something to HRT.

  9. Icthyes said on 5th May 2010, 14:06

    Whatever the motives, I just hope this helps HRT. Chandhok must be a little worried though.

  10. AndrewT said on 5th May 2010, 16:48

    can’t HRT get both Klien and Yamamoto to the wheels on friday? Klien brings the technical stuff, Yamamoto can play a bit for his money, and Senna and Chandhok are equally treated.

  11. djdaveyp said on 7th May 2010, 7:55

    Is it true they can’t use Klien as he no longer holds a super license?

  12. Deurmat said on 7th May 2010, 7:59
    HRT sign Klien without knowing that he doesn’t have a super licence

    Just a day after HRT signed Christian Klien as a test and reserve driver alongside Sakon Yamamoto and the two race drivers, the team has discovered that the Austrian driver does not posses a super licence. Team Principal Colin Kolles explained the oversight to ‘APA’, “As long as the contract was not signed, we could not even ask for a super license. It was all very last minute.”


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