HRT has signed Austrian Christian Klien as their reserve driver. Banking on the wealth of experience Klien has, they are most likely looking toward his car development knowledge as a driver to improve their station in F1 life.
The team said:
“We look forward to having Christian alongside us in Barcelona later this week so he can spend some valuable familiarization time with the team,” said team boss Colin Kolles in a statement.
“As a young team we are looking for drivers who can grow with us.”
Klien most recently worked for the BMW Sauber team as a reserve pilot and when the German manufacture backed out of F1 late last year, Klien has been looking for a foothold in F1. Klien also participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2008 driving the Peugeot 908 to a third-place finish.
I must confess that I have always like Klien and felt that perhaps he didn’t get a fair shake at F1 while employed at Red Bull. His life as a driver is inexorably tied to Mark Webber and Vitantonio Liuzzi they both ended Klien career as a driver for one reason or another as they were chosen over Klien.
Klien is looking forward to being back in the series if even on the periphery:
“This role offers me the opportunity to rejoin the Formula One environment and drive again, which is naturally where my longer-term ambitions lie,” said Klien.
Perhaps Klien is a better reserve driver than anything else in F1 but I sense that he has more to show than what he did while at Jaguar and Red Bull. Opportunistic whimsy? Perhaps but I have been impressed with his performance in the 908 during Le Mans and feel he still has something to offer F1…that may, unfortunately, be in the development area and not the racing track.
Like Nick Heidfeld, a testing role is still a good opportunity in F1 but I wonder if being at tester at Mercedes GP is slightly better than a tester at HRT. Truth be known, HRT can use all the testing they can get right now and something tells me Klien will be very busy while Heidfeld is doing media days.