Departing Red Bull racer Christian Klien might not complete the 2006 formula one season, according to speculation.
Reports both in the Austrian and Dutch press claim that Klien, 23, would be out of favour with the energy drink-owned camp if he definitively snubbed Red Bull’s offer for 2007 of a funded drive for the ‘PKV’ Champ Car team.
According to newspaper ‘Salzburger Nachrichten’, team ‘advisor’ Dr Helmut Marko said: ”If Christian does not accept our offer for a season in Champ Car, then he is a free man.”
Should Klien depart the Red Bull family immediately, it is likely that current team ‘Friday’ tester Robert Doornbos would replace him at the last three grands prix of 2006.
Dutchman Doornbos’ manager, Marco Zecchi, told ‘Formule 1 RaceReport’ that the scenario is not imminent, but he added: ”Of course I hope every day that Red Bull phone me with that message, because it is possible that at Monza the situation will look very different.”
Doornbos, meanwhile, said that retaining the role as ‘third driver’ in 2007 appears to be his ‘only chance’ to stay in F1 beyond the end of the current season.
”Champ Cars and DTM are plans b and c,” he said.