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 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.

"I don't think so," the former F3 Masters winner cautioned. "For sure you can follow the car in front a bit more closely, but at the end of the day the braking zone is still so short that it's very difficult to overtake.

"The difference [between the 2008 and 2009 cars] isn't too big, I have to say; okay, there is a big reduction in aerodynamics and downforce, but you get back quite a lot of grip again from the slick tyres, especially in medium and low-speed corners. The rear of the car is a bit looser under braking and turning into high-speed corners, so it's a bit more work to control the car, but you get used to it quite quickly really.

"I think [the new testing ban] makes things extremely difficult, and I'm happy that we already did quite a lot of testing in November and December with the 'B' spec car equipped to the '09 regulations and aerodynamics. That means we already have quite a lot of data, but I think between now and March it will be crucial to develop the car as much as possible. After that there will be no testing anymore - only on [grand prix] Fridays - and that's very limited."

As to his own personal goals, finally, Klien has been open of late about his desire to return to racing in F1 in the near future - and in the meantime he is hoping to keep himself sharp, fit and focussed by renewing his relationship with Peugeot, one that saw him star on his debut in the iconic, round-the-clock Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar classic back in June en route to third position overall with team-mates Franck Montagny and Ricardo Zonta.

"It was good last year to do some extra racing and testing with Peugeot," he acknowledged. "I'm trying to do that this year again, but it's not finalised yet.

"As a [Formula 1] test and reserve driver you are in third position, so very close to a race seat obviously. Of course you have to wait a bit, but if you do a good job there and have a bit of luck, quite quickly you can be in a race seat. I'm not just here to be a third driver and to be happy with that - I want to get back into a race seat. That's what I'm working at."




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