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Klien to race in Melbourne 18 Feb 2005

Christian Klien (AUT) Red Bull Racing RB1. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 7-11 February 2005. World © Capilitan/Sutton

Austrian first up for Red Bull as Liuzzi bides his time

Red Bull have announced Christian Klien as David Coulthard’s team mate for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Vitantonio Liuzzi will carry out the team’s third driver duties, but may well get to race later in the season.

Both Klien, who competed for Jaguar last year, and Liuzzi have identical race/test contracts with Red Bull. The team’s decision to start the season with the more experienced Austrian follows the conclusion of their recent intensive testing programme at Valencia, Jerez and Barcelona, but the situation will be reviewed on an on-going basis.

"We are very fortunate to have two exceptionally talented young drivers, who have both impressed the team during pre-season testing,” said Red Bull’s sporting director Christian Horner. “I've been extremely pleased with Christian's and Tonio's development during the past few weeks, as well as by their professionalism and sportsmanship. Christian will undoubtedly benefit from David Coulthard's considerable experience and will hope to build on last year's performances."

Klien was naturally delighted with the announcement. "I'm very proud to have the privilege of starting the first race in Melbourne for Red Bull Racing,” he said. “I'm honoured that the decision has been made in my favour - it's got me even more motivated."

Liuzzi, the 2004 FIA International F3000 champion, added: "I extend my congratulations to Christian, but I'll obviously be trying to get an opportunity to race myself as soon as possible. It's great to be with Red Bull Racing – team spirit is excellent. Both Christian and I are benefiting enormously from being able to work with David Coulthard."

Next month’s Melbourne race will be the Formula One debut for Red Bull who purchased the Jaguar team from Ford at the end of last year.