He Needs to be quicker than Klien - if he's going to do anything in F1.
Originally posted by Matt M.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by AerosportsRacing:
Ps.Townsend sure looks good in that green car!!
Ford is spending enough money they should be able to put and american in the car?what do you guys think??
</font>[/QUOTE]Klien gets Jag seat
(and brings in some Red Bull dough....)
As has been rumoured for some time - and in particular since his impressive maiden F1 test last week - Christian Klien will partner Mark Webber in the Jaguar Racing team next season.
The decision to plump for the better-funded Austrian takes effect immediately, with Klien joining Webber for the start of a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. It also means that Britain's Justin Wilson has been left to find alternative employment for next season should he not opt to take a limited testing deal with Jaguar.
Having never previously driven a Formula One car before, F3 Euroseries runner-up Klien was invited to test for Jaguar in Valencia last week - where he shared seat time with Townsend Bell and Wilson - and instantly demonstrated his potential over the course of two days' running.
“Christian was in as much control of himself as he was the car,” said Jaguar Racing MD David Pitchforth, “He was extremely calm and composed, and didn't seem remotely fazed by his first ever experience with a Formula One car. His technical feedback was excellent, and there is no doubt in our minds that about the potential of this exciting new young talent.
"He worked very well with the race engineers and demonstrated increasing speed as he became familiar with the car. Christian's professionalism and brain bandwidth are also very impressive and combined with his application, our decision to employ him as a race driver was based on merit, potential and speed.”
Klien graduated to the F3 Euroseries in 2003 having won the German FRenault Championship prior to that. Despite it being his first season in the higher category, however, he used a landmark victory at the Zandvoort Marlboro Masters to go on and clinch second spot in the championship behind Toyota test driver - and F3 veteran - Ryan Briscoe. His elevation to F1 has surprised the Austrian as much as those looking on, however.
“Knowing that I am a Jaguar F1 driver has made me the happiest man on earth!" he grinned, "I have worked tirelessly over the years to get to this point, but I also appreciate that the real hard work for me starts now. I am indebted to Jaguar Racing for giving me an opportunity to prove my worth and I intend repaying Jaguar through hard work, commitment and, ultimately, results on the race track.
"Before that, however, I have a responsibility alongside Mark Webber to support the development of the 2004 challenger, and that means countless hours of testing over the winter period. This will also be a very valuable familiarisation exercise for me too as I get to know the car, the team and it's associated partners.”
After contesting his contracted five races with the team, Justin Wilson's valuable contribution to the development and growth of Jaguar Racing in 2003 was summed up by Pitchforth, who commented that the Briton did not necessarily lose his seat to a better driver.
“I cannot thank Justin enough for his hard work and commitment since joining us after the British Grand Prix," Pitchforth said, "Justin's speed, focus and experience are exemplary, and our decision to put Christian in the race car in no way reflects upon Justin's clear ability as a competitive racing driver. We are, however, in discussions with Justin about how Jaguar Racing can help with his future career.”
The former F3000 champion and Minardi F1 driver is thought to have been offered a testing role with Jaguar, albeit limited to non race weekend work as he contravenes the new FIA rule that limits Friday morning work to drivers not having contested a grand prix in the past two years. Should he turn the offer down in order to race, Wilson could fit in at either Jordan - where sponsor Benson & Hedges is understood to again want a British presence - and Minardi - where Paul Stoddart has said that he would make space for his former protégé. Finance could be an issue in both cases, however