Liuzzi to Replace Klien at Imola

Vitantonio Liuzzi will make his racing debut at the San Marino Grand Prix after the Red Bull Racing team decided on Tuesday to give the Italian the chance to show what he can do

Liuzzi to Replace Klien at Imola

Although Christian Klien has impressed the team and onlookers with strong performances at all three Grands Prix so far this year, Red Bull's management has made no secret of the fact that it wants to see the true potential of Liuzzi.

Liuzzi has been assured of the race drive for the next three Grands Prix, which will mean he will race at Imola, Barcelona and Monaco.

Red Bull will then judge whether the Italian has done a good enough job to keep the seat for the following three Grands Prix or whether Klien deserves to be drafted back into the race team. Klien and Liuzzi both have identical contracts with Red Bull, which has allowed the team to make the driver switch without any problems.

There have been suggestions in recent weeks that either Klien or Liuzzi may be offered out to the Sauber team, if the Swiss team dropped Jacques Villeneuve, but such a scenario looks unlikely for the time being.

That means that Klien will now be forced to sit on the sidelines for the next few races, because he is over-qualified to drive Red Bull's third car on the Friday of Grands Prix. The team have not made a decision yet about who their third driver will be, but American Scott Speed is favourite after impressing the outfit during a recent test.

Speaking before the team confirmed Liuzzi's opportunity, Klien said he believed that he had done as much as he could this season to stake his claim to the race seat.

"Things for me always were very clear," said Klien. "With a solid performance in winter testing I wanted to earn my place alongside David [Coulthard] to start the season. This I have achieved.

"Then I wanted to prove that I am here on merit. By scoring points twice and with a good performance in Bahrain, I think I did so. Everything else is not in my hands.

"I was told that I would be assured the first three races only and then we would see. I still think that I get better and better from race to race, so whatever the decision will be I will not have to blame myself for it."

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