Red Bull Racing candidate Vitantonio Liuzzi has said that he is not tying his future to Formula One's newest team - especially if it insists on him sharing seat time with Christian Klien in 2005.

The Italian, who made the F1 world sit up and take notice as he romped to the last FIA F3000 crown, has impressed in testing with Red Bull, frequently beating Klien for pace, but now looks likely to be thrust into a shoot-out for the team's second seat, following David Coulthard's move into pole position as prospective team leader.

Naturally, Liuzzi feels that he deserves a shot at racing in F1 next season, but is not happy at team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's suggestion that he and Klien share the second seat, either race-by-race or in half-season blocks. As a result of media reports claiming that that may be the team's preferred option next season, the Italian has spoken out, claiming that he has not given up hope of landing a race seat elsewhere for 2005.

"I'm considering other options - there are still seats available at Williams and Jordan," he told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, "I think a season shared with Klien would be counterproductive, [and] I think it would more logical for Red Bull to choose two drivers from Klien, Coulthard, and myself."

The common paddock wisdom has suggested that Klien will get the nod to partner Coulthard, with both Mateschitz and the team acknowledging that the Austrian deserves a second season in which to build on the experience gained in 2004. However, while MD David Pitchforth has ruled out the chances of Klien and Liuzzi sharing the second race seat, there remains the possibility that Liuzzi could gain greater experience as the team's Friday test driver before being promoted alongside Coulthard, if his performance warrants, later in the season.

Liuzzi's pace in testing with both Sauber and Red Bull has apparently re-awakened Williams' interest in him, although the Italian is likely to find himself at the back of a queue for the second seat alongside Mark Webber, as Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Pizzonia slug it out for the #8 car. Liuzzi may find Jordan more accommodating, but he is likely to have to take substantial sponsorship to the financially-troubled team if he is to guarantee a race seat next season.

With that in mind, biding his time at Red Bull may not be such a bad option after all....



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