Christian Klien remains hopeful that he can still land a race seat on the Formula 1 grid this year, despite seeing Pedro de la Rosa beat him to a slot at BMW Sauber.
The former BMW Sauber test driver had been in talks for several weeks with the Hinwil, Switzerland-based operation about a race deal for 2010, but its decision to hand a seat to de la Rosa has ended his chances. Although his preferred option has now fallen through, Klien says that negotiations are ongoing with two other teams for a deal that could help him back in F1.
"There are still a few seats up for grabs," he wrote on his official website. "I have been approached by several teams throughout the 2009 season. With two of those teams I am currently in serious negotiations."
Klien has declined to identify the outfits he is talking to, but only Renault, Campos and US F1 have seats available.
"As always you do not count your chickens before they are hatched in Formula 1," he said. "This is mainly in the interest of the teams and their partners. My goal is to be racing in F1 this season and I still have every chance to achieve that."
When asked when he expected a decision about his future to be made, Klien explained: "Theoretically the decision about drivers can be made right before the first race in Bahrain in March. Common sense tells us though that it makes sense to have your lineup ready before you go testing, which will be at the beginning of February or mid-February, depending on the teams.
"Formula 1 is currently undergoing a process of massive restructuring. Works teams have left, new teams were founded. A few teams are under new ownership, which results in new management and new strategic emphasis here and there. In those teams, decisions will take a little longer with new people in place and a whole new framework. Also, for the first time in decades there is no testing over the winter. Therefore, the teams are not in a hurry to complete their driver lineup."
He added: "The clear goal is to race. With all the test restrictions, the job of a test pilot is not as attractive as it was some time ago. Still you have to weigh this option carefully. Last season, no fewer than five reserve drivers were called upon in 10 teams to replace a racing driver.
"Statistically, the job makes sense. Still my plan is to go racing. That is top of the list. And I still see a fair chance to be on the grid in 2010."