BMW Sauber announce Klien and Asmer
The BMW Sauber F1 Team will be launching into the 2008 season with a quartet of drivers. Austrian Christian Klien has been signed up as a test and reserve driver while Marko Asmer of Estonia comes on board as a second junior test driver.
"We wanted a third driver with Formula One racing experience," explains BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, "as well as an up-and-coming young driver for us to train up to Formula One level. With Christian we have signed on a driver who is familiar with the format of a grand prix weekend and can step into the breach right away should one of our team drivers have to back out. Marko has driven our car four times since 4th December and has made steady progress. He has worked in a concentrated, focused and calm fashion. The feedback from the engineers bears positive testimony to him, and the chemistry between him and the team is right as well."
Christian Klien (born 7th February 1983 in Hohenems, Austria) switched to Formula BMW in 1999 following a career in karting. "That's where I learnt the basics of formula racing," he recalls, "and so joining the BMW Sauber F1 Team is a bit of a homecoming for me. I'm really pleased that I will be part of the team in 2008 and continue to be involved in Formula One."
Klien won the German Formula Renault in 2002 and was runner-up in the 2003 Formula 3 Euro Series. In 2004 he entered Formula One with the Jaguar Racing team. 2005 and 2006 saw him competing in F1 for Red Bull Racing. In 2007 he was a test driver for Honda. His best Formula One results so far have been fourth on the grid and a fifth-placed race finish.
Marko Asmer (born 30th July 1984 in Tallinn, Estonia) says: "I always hoped for an opportunity to get into Formula One. Naturally I did everything I could to avoid any mistakes and to do a good job. I learnt a lot while driving in the tests at Jerez and Valencia, but also as a spectator and observer. I was given a very friendly welcome and got on just fine. I feel good in the BMW Sauber F1 Team and I'm very grateful to be a part of it now."
Asmer was Estonian, Baltic, Finnish and Scandinavian kart champion, dominated the World Kart Championship, and was honored in 2001 as the world's most talented kart driver. Formula Ford proved to be the most affordable way of gaining entry into single-seater racing. In 2003, Asmer came runner-up in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. In the same year he was invited to get behind the wheel of a Formula One racer for the first time to take a test for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. From 2004 on he competed in Formula 3. 2007 saw him commuting between the All Japan F3 Series and the British Championship, which he won with a commanding 11 wins and two further podium places.