Hispania Racing’s stand-in driver Christian Klien is travelling to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale event, no doubt hoping that he’ll get another late call-up to deputise for the team in the final event of the season.
His race prospects were then destroyed when his car suffered a fuel pump problem en route to the grid, and he rejoined the race some 5 laps down once the problem had been rectified.
Despite this, he posted competitive lap times, with a fastest race lap that was 3.839 seconds slower than the race’s fastest lap of 1:13.851 posted by Lewis Hamilton. In comparison to the other rookie team drivers, this was quicker than both Senna and Timo Glock in the Virgin Racing entry, while Lucas di Grassi in the other Virgin was quickest of the sextet with a best time that was 2.916 seconds slower.
HRT team boss Colin Kolles praised Klien’s ability to “easily keep up with the other new teams’ pace”, when summarising the squad’s performance after the race.
Currently placed eleventh in the Constructors’ Championship standings, HRT can overtake tenth-placed Lotus in the final round with an eleventh-placed finish, which would give them access to additional travel allowance funds and a great slice of the TV revenue.
When Klien was asked by the Kleine Zeitung newspaper about his prospects of having another shot in the F110 in Abu Dhabi, he said: “I hope so, but I haven’t even asked.”
The seemingly positive prospects for the squad as it heads into 2010 – with confirmation of fresh investment from former Telefónica CEO Juan Villalonga Navarro, and the announcement that the team will use Williams’ transmission units in its 2011 car – Klien remains optimistic that he could be a candidate for a full-time race seat next season.
“In any case, the team will be an attractive employer for 2011,” he added.
HRT is also rumoured to have signed a technical collaboration with Toyota’s former F1 outfit to use the designs of their unraced 2010 chassis.
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[Original image via Sutton Images]