Feb 18

Klien could be new McLaren reserve driver – report (updated)

Soucek set to be Virgin reserve driver

01 - Vodafone McLaren Mercedes12 - Virgin RacingChristian Klien could become McLaren’s new reserve and primary test driver. Rumours at the Jerez test, repeated by the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper, suggest the 27-year-old Austrian is being considered to replace Pedro de la Rosa.

Spaniard De la Rosa was McLaren’s main tester since 2003, but he is returning to the grid in 2010 with Sauber.

Gary Paffett is already a McLaren test driver, but he is staying in the DTM championship this year, moving team boss Martin Whitmarsh to confirm recently that the Woking based outfit needs “another driver”.

48 grands prix veteran Klien, most recently the tester at BMW-Sauber and formerly Honda, said last week he is still hoping to find a race seat, but that “another year as a reserve driver would not be a catastrophe”.

Soucek set to be Virgin reserve driver

Andy Soucek is set to sign as the new British team Virgin’s 2010 reserve driver.

The reigning F2 champion, who is 24, said last week: “I think to be third driver is a job I deserve, and I do not have to pay for it. I’m interested in that.”

The Spanish sports daily AS said Soucek decided to look more closely at Virgin’s offer because he “was tired of waiting for Campos”.

“Andy had no confidence in being able to race all year and (therefore) be out of the grands prix forever,” the newspaper added.

Virgin’s race drivers are Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi.

The vacancy as reserve driver may have emerged due to the withdrawal of Alvaro Parente’s sponsorship backing.

Virgin said in December that the Portuguese pay-driver would be its reserve driver in 2010, alongside 20-year-old test driver Luiz Razia.

But it is reported by Britain’s Autosport magazine that Portugal’s Tourism Institute pulled its backing of Parente, who is 25.

source: GMM