Red Bull Want Friday Rule Changed

Red Bull Racing have begun canvassing for support among their rival teams to change the rules regarding Friday test drivers, in a bid to allow Christian Klien to remain on driving duty, Autosport-Atlas has learned

Red Bull Want Friday Rule Changed

Red Bull decided to hand Vitantonio Liuzzi the race drive for the next three events. However, under the current F1 regulations, the switch between Liuzzi and Klien means the Austrian would not be able to participate in the Friday testing, because he is over-qualified.

The regulations state that Friday test drivers must not have competed in more that six Grands Prix in the previous two years. Klien has participated, by now, in 21 Grands Prix.

But team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has begun a campaign to get the regulations changed - and he has already secured support from BAR boss Nick Fry and Renault chief Flavio Briatore.

Furthermore, Red Bull Racing's sporting director Christian Horner will speak to all the other teams this week to try and get their support for the change. The team will need to get unanimous support to have any chance of persuading the FIA to change the regulations.

Speaking at the weekend, Mateschitz said: "We have not made any plans for a new Friday tester for Imola and later on, when Liuzzi is driving the second race car.

"We are optimistic that we can reach an agreement among the teams to change the rules concerning third drivers, because the current status was intended against older drivers to fill spots for young ones.

"In our case, with Christian [Klien] not eligible for Friday testing, the rule contravenes its spirit."

Red Bull was previously expected to run either Scott Speed or Neel Jani during Friday practice, but the Austrian company, which backs the two drivers, wants the duo to concentrate on their debut season in GP2 this year.

That has left Red Bull Racing with the problem of finding a suitable third driver for the Friday role, and it is not clear who the team would field in their third car should they fail to get the teams' support for the regulation change.

And, with the current rift between Ferrari and their rivals - now labelled the 'Group of Nine' - it remains to be seen whether a unanimous support could be reached or not.

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