BMW test driver Christian Klien says he is optimistic about his future at the current Hinwill-based team. With BMW’s announcement that they will be leaving the sport at teh end of 2009, the focus has been on finding a successor to buy the team. While no deal has been announced yet, Klien figures his prospects are good either at the Hinwill team or at another team.
At the moment this is pure speculation as the overall situation is still too unclear. What I can contribute at this point is staying super fit to the maximum and be prepared. Just like I trained on my bicycle in the heat every day while I was on holiday. Also, I can collect as much data for the development department when we go straight line testing. And the endurance car races like in Sebring, Spa or Le Mans help a lot to keep my neck and my reflexes in shape. You can be called upon quite quickly as we see with Ferrari now.
Have you received any requests to drive in 2010 after BMW announced its departure?
There have been requests throughout the season. In F1 everything is always on the move. The new teams are very interested in drivers with experience but a certain long term perspective. At only 26 and with my sixth F1 season now I think I can offer both. But also the established teams are looking around for new drivers at the moment. A few drivers are on the way out or changing teams. Despite those requests that I have received the team from Hinwil would be my first choice. The technical ressources are great and the passion for racing fits very well with my idea of an F1 team.
Could the three-car scenario become a reality in 2010?
From a technical and a financial point of view there are only few reasons that speak against it, as we saw a couple of years ago. When all 13 teams are on the grid next year there will be no need for a third car. But when Formula One’s stability requires it, it will definitely be an option. Anyway you look at it – with 13 teams of two cars or fewer teams with three cars – there will be more driver seats available next year for sure.
When will we know more?
Concerning the Hinwil team, I hope very soon. But let’s not forget what happened to the Ex-Honda team last winter. By February nobody knew if they would make it at all. And then they started by driving circles around everyone else. As for me personally: Like most drivers I am in a waiting position now. As soon as the first pieces of the puzzles fall into the right places, thing may happen quickly. But in 2010 there will be more jobs for F1 drivers than previously, but not any more drivers with Grand Prix experience on the market. I feel I am in quite a good position.
To be honest, I think this young man has unfinished business in F1. He drove remarkably well at Le Mans and has been tipped as a good tester but his brief tenure in a racing seat in F1 left much of the plot out.
Klien started in 2004 at Jaguar, replacing Justin Wilson, and teamed with Mark Webber. There was a tremendous amount of pressure on the young man but he was the first person to out qualify Mark Webber as a teammate. His stint at Red Bull was less successful as David Coulthard outperformed him, which could be a serious reflection on his exit from F1, but he scored a total of 14 points in the F1 series. That’s 14 more than many F1 drivers.
I do hope he gets a cahnce to get back in F1 to pick up where he left off. I think he is a talented young man and deserves a second chance.