Bruno Senna has claimed that he and Karun Chandhok should be given as many miles as possible if they and the Hispania Racing Team are to improve, rather than signing test and reserve drivers to share the load.
Speaking on the eve of Christian Klien's impending debut for the Spanish newcomer, where he would drive in place of Chandhok on Friday morning, Senna pointed out the, as the team had not completed a single mile of testing in pre-season, it was more important for the regular drivers to continue learning.
"We will have to wait until tomorrow to see if there is any benefit from the experience of the third driver in terms of the development of the car and in terms of what direction he can take the team," Senna told members of the media in the Barcelona paddock, no doubt mindful that he too will have to give up his car for Klien in future.
"But, in my opinion, because we had no testing at the beginning of the season, the race drivers must do every mile possible. You can see that very few teams are giving mileage to the third driver on Fridays and it's only because they have simulators that the drivers can go there and use. I prefer to do as many miles as I can and make sure I can get used to the car before I go to a qualifying session. For me, every mile makes a difference. Fortunately, I know this track very well, so I know I can pick up pace quite quickly, but we'll see [what happens in future]."
Klien, who steps back into an F1 car on a race weekend for the first time nearly four years, revealed that he had not heard any complaints from either of HRT's regular drivers, although he conceded that he could understand the potential for frustration.
“We walked the track together and it was a good relationship,” the 27-year old told Germany's Motorsport-Magazin.com
, before revealing that he does not yet know how many outings he will get, "So far, Barcelona is the first one planned, then the team will decide whether it will be the same for other grands prix.”
The Austrian, who raced for Jaguar Racing and Red Bull
during his brief stint as a race regular between 2004-06, very nearly did not get clearance to drive in the opening practice session, having had to renew his superlicence, which had lapsed in his absence from the top flight.
“As long as the contract was not signed, we could not even ask for a superlicence,” team boss Colin Kolles explained, "It was all very last minute.”
Klien was eventually allowed to participate in the 90-minute session and a magnanimous Chandhok conceded that the Austrian had exceeded his expectations.