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07/05/2010 COMEBACK ON THE VERY LIMIT
No sooner than two minutes before the start of the First Practice session in Barcelona this morning, Christian's super license was approved. The Austrian drove 26 laps for HRT F1 Team, Hispania Racing and did a 1:27.250. Team mate Bruno Senna managed to put in a 1:27.752. Christian Klien talks about his first F1 test for the new team.
Q: Christian, what impression did you get of the car in your 26 laps?
Christian Klien: First of all it was great to take part in a Formula One session again. It is no secret that the car has its weaknesses. We are about six seconds behind the leaders. That comes mainly from a lack of downforce. As a driver you can do a bit, but you cannot make up for all of that. We can probably find one second over the rest of the season by developing the car further and setting it up right. But the chassis is definitely not up to the standard of the bigger teams. Having said that I find it even more impressive how hard everyone pushes. The goal is clearly to be the best of the new teams at the end of the season.
Q: How long did it take for your body to get used to the forces of F1 again?
Christian Klien: Not at all. Everything was as usual: the perception, the reflexes, the brake points. Certainly the mileage I get with Peugeots Le Mans program plays into my hands here. We tried out a few things. One if which was a 10 lap stint, where I managed to put in very consistent lap times, lap after lap. This is always a good sign. But physically I have always felt very fit.
Q: Why did your super license take so long?
Christian Klien: It was quite nerve wrecking in the end. But everything was done last minute. Karun Chandhok already had his overalls on. Just in case the permission would take longer. You have to follow a clear procedure in such matters. Only when the contracts are checked and declared ok by a lawyer, Jean Todt as FIA president may sign the application. Ten minutes before the start of the session the email arrived at last. It was quite a relief. Luckily everybody was very quick and flexible.
Q: What next? When will you drive again?
Christian Klien: If you are asking me, I'd love to continue immediately. But it is totally the team's decision. We will sit down now and work through all the data and impression that I have gathered. The rest is up the team management and Colin Kolles.