Christian Klien talks about the current state of his cockpit negotiations for the 2010 Formula One season.
Christian, the Sauber team has named its two drivers for 2010 today. You will not be driving for the Swiss squad in 2010. What are the reasons?
In the past two months I have been to Hinwil about every ten days to speak with the engineers about the development of the 2010 car. I could also closely follow the progress that was made in the wind tunnel. Peter Sauber himself has put all his efforts into supporting his Hinwil team, and he was always very open towards me in terms of a contract. I was in a good position to get the drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team or their respective successor. However, a few decisions about the sale of the team were made very late and the FIA entry could only be granted until the beginning of December, which has certainly not made the whole situation for the team easier. At the end of the day the drivers' decision is up to the management and they have to take all factors into consideration.
Do you understand Peter Sauber's decision?
I was well aware that my main rival for the seat was Pedro de la Rosa. In my view, the fact that the decision was taken so late shows that it was not an easy one for Peter Sauber.
Is the 2010 season over now for Christian Klien?
Not at all! There are still a few seats up for grabs. I have been approached by several teams throughout the 2009 season. With two of those teams I am currently in serious negotiations.
Who are those teams?
As always you do not count your chickens before they are hatched in Formula One. This is mainly in the interest of the teams and their partners. My goal is to be racing in F1 this season and I still have every chance to achieve that.
When will a decision be made?
Theoretically the decision about drivers can be made right before the first race in Bahrain in March. Common sense tells us though that it makes sense to have your line-up ready before you go testing, which will be at the beginning of February or mid-February depending on the teams.
Formula One currently undergoes a process of massive re-structuring. Works teams have left, new teams were founded. A few teams are under new ownership, which results in new management and new strategic emphasis here and there. In those teams decisions will take a little longer with new people in place and a whole new framework. Also, for the first time in decades there is no testing over the winter. Therefore, the teams are not in a hurry to complete their driver line-up.
Is another year as test and reserve driver also an option?
The clear goal is to race. With all the test restrictions the job of a test pilot is not as attractive as it was some time ago. Still you have to weigh this option carefully. Last season, no fewer than five reserve drivers were called upon in ten teams to replace a racing driver. Statistically the job makes sense. Still my plan is to go racing. That is top of the list. And I still see a fair chance to be on the grid in 2010.
>> back to news