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Klien lands 2007 testing seat with Honda 15 Nov 2006

Christian Klien (AUT).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 20 October 2006

Former Red Bull racer Christian Klien has been confirmed as Honda’s official test and reserve driver for the 2007 Formula One season. Working alongside race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, he will be joined by James Rossiter, who steps up to the role of official Honda test driver.

Klien had looked to be on his way out of Formula One racing after he was dropped by Red Bull with three races of the 2006 season remaining. His Honda appointment was announced on Wednesday - the same day as that concerning his predecessor Anthony Davidson’s move to a Super Aguri race seat for next season.

“I am very proud to be joining the Honda Racing F1 Team,” said Klien. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to work with one of the top manufacturers in Formula One and alongside two of the best race drivers. I have three years of F1 experience to contribute and I am looking forward to helping Honda to achieve its ambitions. Equally, I have a great opportunity to progress my own career. I am very much looking forward to driving the car for the first time when winter testing begins.”

The 23 year-old Austrian is due to begin his Honda commitments when winter testing gets underway at the end of November. In addition to his regular testing duties, Klien will attend Grands Prix with the team and will be on stand-by if required to substitute for either race driver at short notice.

“I would like to welcome Christian to the Honda Racing F1 Team as he takes up his new role as our Test and Reserve Driver,” added the team’s sporting director Gil de Ferran. “Christian has accumulated a great deal of experience in Formula One over the past three years and this should prove extremely valuable to us given the limitations placed on teams by the new testing regulations.

“We expect Christian to play an important role in the development of the RA107 and we look forward to working very closely with him in the winter, together with James who steps up to be an official test driver for us.”

Klien has raced in 46 Grands Prix in the three seasons since his Formula One debut at the 2004 Australian Grand Prix. He previously worked through the ranks of karting, Formula BMW, Formula Renault and the Formula 3 Euroseries.