Christian Klien has announced that he is to leave his role as Honda's official test and reserve driver in an attempt to pursue a race seat on the 2008 Formula 1 grid.

After failing to find a suitable position following his premature departure from Red Bull Racing in 2006, Klien was signed by Honda to assume testing duties over the course of the 2007 season.

However, limited opportunities to drive the car have prompted Klien to look elsewhere for 2008, an agreement that will see the Austrian bid farewell to the Brackley-based team. Despite only competing for a single-year, Klien was full of thanks to the team for giving him the chance to impress.

"I have really enjoyed working with the Honda Racing F1 Team this year and would like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to work with them and provide support to Jenson and Rubens.

"My goal for 2007 was to work with a team like Honda, and it has been a really great experience. Honda is an outstanding company and their Formula One team deserves to succeed. I would like to thank everyone in the team for their help and support."

In the short-term, Klien already has an F1 test lined up with the newly branded Force India F1 team at the Circuit de Catalunya next week. Having tested with the team as Spyker earlier this year, Klien is hoping his familiarity with the squad will work in his favour.

"Due to the limited testing available during the season, however, I have decided to focus my efforts on specific opportunities to race in 2008 in Formula One, and my immediate goal is to complete a successful test for the Etihad Aldar Force India F1 Team in Barcelona next week. Naturally I am concentrating on racing - that comes first."

Having raced in Formula 1 for almost three seasons with Jaguar and then Red Bull, Klien was dropped from both the team and the drinks company's sponsorship when he turned down an offer of racing in the Champ Car World Series.

Despite failing to find a race seat in 2007, Klien is pleased with the amount of interest that is still being shown in him.

"Considering the way in which younger drivers have performed in this year's Formula One World Championship, including those whom I have raced against and beaten in lower formulae, I am very happy with the interest being shown in me.

"I still have a lot of work to do in order for everything to work out the way I want, but following the agreement with the Honda Racing F1 Racing team I am now in a position to give other opportunities my full commitment, commencing with testing for the Etihad Aldar Force India F1 Team."

 

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