Mark Webber will be joined by another Formula One newcomer when the 2004 season kicks off in Melbourne in March, but rookie Christian Klien is far from overawed at the prospect of stepping into what is regarded as the most difficult seat in grand prix racing.

The Austrian joined the team just over seven weeks ago, after impressing both in F3 and his limited F1 test outings, but already appears to have fixed his sights on keeping the second seat for the entire season.

"I could not have asked for a better opportunity to start my F1 challenge," he admitted, "For a driver, it is very special to have the name Jaguar on your overalls.

"I know I have a very steep learning curve ahead of me, but the support within the team is terrific and, in Mark, I not only have a very quick team-mate, but also someone who is a great team player. I can learn a lot from Mark. He is a fantastic driver and just watching how he works with the team is really useful for me. I don't mind saying that, as a young driver, I look up to people like him because he is so professional. I should be able to benefit from being with such an impressive team-mate."

After a disappointing 2003 in terms of scoring points, the team is hoping that Klien can succeed where Justin Wilson and Antonio Pizzonia 'failed', and back Webber up with consistent point-scoring runs.

"From the day I joined, the team have reminded me that it is not enough just to drive quickly," the Austrian explained, "What is important is the way we work as a team. They use the phrase 'team player' a lot here and I think they expect to see us being that in 2004."

Although he has yet to drive the new R5 - Webber shook the car down in Belgium ahead of its launch - Klien is eager to make up for lost time, and get himself into the right position to start the season with a bang in Australia.

"I cannot wait to get into the new car and begin what will be a very intense few weeks of testing," he said, "With only six weeks until the season's opening race, the workload will be very heavy, but this is what I have always dreamed of doing. There is a big difference between everything in Formula One and where I came from in Formula Three. It is, however, what I expected and what I now have to fully prepare for."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...