Christian Klien has rejected speculation that his new Honda contract includes a clause allowing him to step into a race cockpit in 2008.
It is rumoured in Austria that the 24-year-old only signed to become a test driver next year because Rubens Barrichello is nearing retirement, but Klien said: “I don’t have any clauses like that.”
Referring also to Red Bull’s David Coulthard, he told the Austrian broadcaster ‘ORF’: “Also last year I had an older team colleague and I can tell you they can also drive fast!”
Klien was in Vienna this week to receive the keys to his new company car — a 300hp Honda Legend.
He pointed out that countryman Alex Wurz’s return to the grand prix grid next year proves that becoming a test driver is not the end of an F1 racing career.
In a press conference attended by motorline.cc, however, Klien baulked at the suggestion that – like Wurz – he might have to wait six years before rolling onto the grid again.
“2013?” Klien exclaimed. “I’m not going to wait for that long!”
He also said he had spotted Honda’s new car at the Brackley factory, and revealed that it notably features “more aggressive but smaller” side pods.