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Liuzzi and Klien await their fate 23 May 2005

Christian Klien (AUT)Red Bull Racing and Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Red Bull Racing arrive at the Red Bull Racing Star Wars Party.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, First Qualifying Day, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 21 May 2005

Red Bull must decide this week which of their young drivers will partner David Coulthard at the European Grand Prix, after Vitantonio Liuzzi’s agreed three-race stint drew to a close in Monaco.

Christian Klien was Coulthard’s team mate for the opening three Grands Prix of 2005, before stepping aside for Liuzzi at the following three. Both men have identical race and test contracts with the Austrian-owned team.

With the team having just experienced their worst race of the season - a double DNF in Monaco - Red Bull bosses must now assess the relative performances of the two men and decide which of them will get the second seat at the Nurburgring this coming weekend.

Based purely on results, Klien has to be favourite. He scored three points from his three races - but in one of those a technical glitch meant he didn’t even get off the grid. The Austrian's qualifying performances - a sixth and two sevenths - were also highly impressive.

Liuzzi, meanwhile, notched up just a single point at Imola, though only after the BARs were excluded and a time penalty for Ralf Schumacher dropped him below the Italian. He failed to finish twice, spinning out in Spain and making contact with the barriers in Monaco. Eleventh in Barcelona was his best grid spot.

Of course, statistics never tell the full story. They don’t, for example, account for the fact that Liuzzi is a Formula One rookie, while Klien has a season of Jaguar experience under his belt. For sure, it will not be an easy decision for Red Bull.

Whichever man gets the race seat, the other at least has the consolation of the third driver spot in the two Friday practice sessions, which guarantees them a Grand Prix appearance.

Klien has been allowed to fill this role at the last three races after Red Bull persuaded fellow teams to agree a change to the regulations. Previously, drivers with recent Grand Prix experience had been excluded.