Klien Confirmed at Jaguar for 2004

Jaguar Racing on Tuesday confirmed that Austrian youngster Christian Klien will take Briton Justin Wilson's place at the team and join Australian Mark Webber for the 2004 season.

Klien Confirmed at Jaguar for 2004

Jaguar Racing on Tuesday confirmed that Austrian youngster Christian Klien will take Briton Justin Wilson's place at the team and join Australian Mark Webber for the 2004 season.

Klien, who was runner up in the German Formula Three championship this year, tested for the team in Valencia last week and impressed them so much they have immediately snapped him up for the race role.

"Knowing that I am a Jaguar Formula One driver has made me the happiest man on earth," said Klien. "I have worked tirelessly over the years to get to this point but I appreciate that the real hard work starts now.

"I am indebted to Jaguar Racing for giving me an opportunity to prove my worth and I intend repaying Jaguar through hard work, commitment and, ultimately, results on the racetrack. Before that I have a responsibility alongside Mark Webber to support the development of the 2004 challenger and that means countless hours of testing over the winter period."

Klien, 20, will return to the cockpit of his Jaguar alongside Webber for the three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Tuesday and Wilson, who competed in five races for the team in 2003, will not return.

The team remain keen, however, to retain the British driver, a former Formula 3000 champion, possibly in a testing role next season although any running would be limited by new regulations.

No driver taking part in the new Friday testing sessions is allowed to have raced in more than six Grands Prix over the last two years but it is understood that Jaguar are appealing to the governing body to alter the rule.

Managing director David Pitchforth said: "Justin's speed, focus and experience are exemplary and our decision to put Christian in the race car in no way reflects on Justin's clear ability as a competitive race driver.

"(In the Valencia test) Christian was in as much control of himself as he was the car. He was extremely calm, composed and didn't seem remotely phased by his first ever experience in a Formula One car.

"His technical feedback was excellent and there is no doubt in our minds about the potential of this exciting new young talent. He worked very well with the race engineers and demonstrated increasing speed."

Klien comes with significant backing from energy drinks giants Red Bull and although they will now plough significant money into Jaguar their backing is understood to be directly with Klien not the team.

They are thought to be aiming to use Klien as a promotion of 'exciting talent' and, although the team confirmed there will be Red Bull presence on the car next year, it will not alter the livery significantly.

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Jaguar confirms Klien for 2004
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