Austrian’s Christian Klien was born on Februry 7th 1983 in Hohenems in the Alps. Klien won many karting events, and became the Swiss champion in his first year of competing the title. However, it was after meeting Ayrton Senna that Christian decided he wanted to become a Formula One driver, and in 1999 he progressed his career to Formula BMW Junior Cup.
Christian finished fourth in his debut year in Formula BMW Junior, and moved to the main Formula BMW Cup in 2000. Klien competed with Team Rosberg and finished tenth overall, and third in the rookie standings. In 2001, Christian won five races and moved higher up the tables to third overall. Continuing his success, Klien participated in the Italian Winter Formula Renault series, and followed this with a drive in German Formula Renault for 2002. Four wins later and Klien took the German Title and finishing fifth in the European title.
Success in Formula Three led to a drive with the Jaguar Formula One team for 2004, combined with backing from Red Bull he partnered Mark Webber and managed to become the first team mate of the Australian to out-qualify him. Christian managed to accrue three points in 2004 and finished 16th overall.
In the winter of 2004/2005, Ford sold the Jaguar team to Dietrich Mateschitz’s Red Bull company. This new association led to Christian getting in a few tests alongside Vitantonio Liuzzi and David Coulthard, and managed to impress enough to get the second seat partnering Britons Coulthard.
Scoring two points in two races, Klien was raising eyebrows and he looked to be a strong team mate to David Coulthard. Klien continued his success with the new car acquiring a further seven points before the season closed. He totaled nine points and was 15th in the standings, despite having to share his drive with Italian’s Vitantonio Liuzzi at four of the Grands Prix.
With Red Bull’s acquisition of Minardi in 2005, the pressure from Liuzzi to take over Klien’s seat at the senior team was relieved when it was announced that Red Bull Racing would continue with their lineup, and Liuzzi would drive for the Junior team – Toro Rosso.
2006 didn’t go as well for Klien as 2005, and in comparison to his more experienced team mate David Coulthard, Klien looked to go ever further down hill. Although Christian put in a couple of good performances and managed two 8th place finishes, it was announced on September 10th that third driver Robert Doornbos would take over in the second car and Klien was relieved from his contract. Red Bull did offer the Austrian a chance to drive in the Champ Car series in America with backing from the energy drinks giant, but Christian declined stating that he would like to continue in Formula One. Despite rumours of joining the newly bought Midland team – renamed Spyker – Christian has instead signed as a test driver to the Honda team.
Christian spent 2007 largely out of the limelight, testing with Honda whenever the opportunity arose. He worked with full-time drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, but the RA107 was woeful to drive and the team performed very badly. After the season finale, Klien was invited to test for the once-again renamed Spyker team – Force India. The first session at Circuit de Catalunya went well, and the squad repeated the invitation for the second session the following month. However, the new squad eventually decided to use the experienced Giancarlo Fisichella to partner Adrian Sutil for the race team, and Vitantonio Liuzzi was signed to a testing role.
On February 2nd 2008, Klien was announced as BMW’s official test and reserve driver.