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Christian Klien

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Biography

Christian Klien (born Hohenems, February 7, 1983) is an Austrian Formula One racing driver. Klien has yet to achieve a race win or a podium finish in Formula One.

Klien started his career in motorsport in his early teens; racing in karting championships both in Austria and Switzerland before moving up to Formula BMW. After several more titles in lower Formulas, Klien moved up into Formula One with the Jaguar Racing team, alongside Mark Webber. At the end of 2005, Jaguar's Formula One team was sold to Red Bull and renamed Red Bull Racing; Klien shared the race seat with Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi. The Austrian stayed at Red Bull for 2006, with Liuzzi going to Red Bull junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Klien became enthused about racing when his dad brought him to watch a Go-Kart race. This enthusiasm for the sport was only increased after meeting Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna. The Austrian started his career at the age of 13. From 1996 to 1998, Klien won several kart races in both Switzerland and his native Austria, becoming the Suisse champion in his first year.

In 1999, Klien moved to racing in the Formula BMW ADAC Junior Cup, winning four races and finishing fourth in the series. The following year, he moved into the main Formula BMW ADAC Championship with Team Rosberg, finishing the series ranked tenth overall and third in the rookie rankings. Continuing in the series in 2001, Klien managed to win five races, and ended up third in the series. Joining JD Motorsport for the Italian winter Formula Renault series, he won one event, which lead to a drive for the team in German Formula Renault for 2002.

Klien won four races, winning the German title, and finishing fifth in the European series. From there, Klien moved into the Formula Three Euroseries, with Mucke Motorsport, winning four races and finishing runner-up to Ryan Briscoe. Klien also won the 2003 Marlboro Masters event at Zandvoort.

In December 2003, Klien was signed as a race driver for the Jaguar Formula One team for the 2004 season, replacing Justin Wilson, who had replaced Antônio Pizzonia for the final 5 Grand Prix of the 2003 season. He had significant pressure on him as second driver to his more experienced teammate Mark Webber, but was the first driver to ever outqualify Webber from the same team.

Jaguar were bought out in November 2004 by Austrian energy drink company Red Bull and were renamed "Red Bull Racing". During winter testing in 2005, Klien tested several times for Red Bull Racing alongside Vitantonio Liuzzi and David Coulthard. Klien secured the second race seat at Red Bull, alongside the veteran Coulthard. Klien started the year with points finishes in the first two races before retiring in Bahrain before the race had even started due to an electrical problem.

On November 15, 2006, Honda Racing announced the signing of Christian Klien as their test and reserve driver for the 2007 season. The Austrian made his debut for the Japanese works team at the Circuit de Catalunya, during the early pre-season testing during late November, 2006. At the 2007 British Grand Prix, he replaced the injured Jenson Button for the second free practice session on Friday. On 11 July 2007, Klien was released by Honda F1 to test with Spyker with a view to replacing Christijan Albers who was released because of sponsorship problems. However, the seat went to Japanese driver Sakon Yamamoto.



 


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