Christian Klien has echoed Anthony Davidson's call for Formula 1 teams to be allowed to run a third car for testers on the Fridays of grand prix weekends once again – suggesting it is now harder than ever for young drivers to get a break in the top flight.
The Austrian competed in 46 races at the highest level for Jaguar and Red Bull Racing from 2004 to 2006, notching up 14 points and a best finish of fifth place along the way, in the Chinese Grand Prix at the end of the 2005 campaign.
Since the beginning of last year he has been employed as test and reserve driver by BMW-Sauber, but with teams no longer permitted to field three cars on Fridays and all in-season testing henceforth outlawed, he admits that for much of 2009 he will be twiddling his thumbs. Ex-Super Aguri ace Davidson recently called for the Friday rule to be overturned [see separate story – click here
], and Klien clearly agrees.
“I would definitely be in favour of that idea, yes,” he told Crash.net Radio
. “I think that would be exactly the right thing for the test and reserve drivers now – there's no testing during the season so we need to have some time in the car, and that would be on the Friday. That's a perfect platform not only for a third driver, but also for a team to get more data for a race weekend.
“It's a big change for the test drivers this year, with nearly no testing. Okay, before the start of the season we'll get some tests in, but then from March onwards there are no tests at all apart from straight-line tests, so that will be extremely difficult for us. For teams I think it's really important to have an experienced test and reserve driver who has driven in some races already and has some mileage, otherwise it's difficult.
“To be honest, there is only a small chance for a young driver to get into Formula 1 because there's no testing. Again, Friday testing would be the perfect platform for young drivers to show what they can do and what they're capable of, and also to learn the tracks, which is extremely important.
“I hope they'll review this regulation change a little bit, and maybe have something on Fridays again for test drivers like there was two or three years ago.”
Experienced Klien certainly is, despite his relatively young age at just 25, and he is hopeful that BMW's pre-Christmas running with an interim car specially fitted with 2009-spec wings to simulate the aerodynamics and downforce levels that are likely to be experienced this season – the only F1 team to do so – will provide the Munich and Hinwil-based outfit with an advantage over its rivals once the competitive action gets underway in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in just over two months' time.
He is less convinced, however, that the new regulations will achieve their stated goal of generating greater overtaking and spicing up the show.