Date: 7th March 2011 at 9:04am
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The 2011 Formula One season may not have actually got under way yet, but there are some drivers who are already under pressure.

At Hispania a dual is emerging between Christian Klien and Tonio Liuzzi to secure the final seat on the F1 grid alongside Narain Karthikeyan who has already secured his slot in the team.

Of course it isn?t the first time the two have been vying for a spot in F1, with the two drivers sharing a Red Bull drive in 2005. Christian Klien came out on top of that particular battle, but a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. ‘Yeah, funny, isn’t it?? he said to Autosport Magazine.

?At Red Bull we were both members of the groundbreaking ‘seat sharing’ model. But Tonio and I have remained good friends over the years. As usual we phoned after his HRT test.

‘Last summer I was given an extra ticket for the football Champions League final in Madrid. Of course I invited Tonio to come with me, which he did happily. No matter who gets the drive, it will not change our good and respectful relationship.’


Tonio Liuzzi is currently looking the more likely to secure the spot after pleasing team bosses in winter testing. Giorgio Mondini has also tested the car, while Klien drove for the team last year.

With the final winter testing session in Barcelona soon approaching, a clear indication over who will be on the grid in Australia should happen over the next few days.

Over at Toro Rosso, the two seats for the first half of the year have been taken by Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, however they are under immediate pressure to perform with Daniel Ricciardo waiting in the Red Bull wings from day one.

Daniel Ricciardo will be involved in the Friday morning practice test sessions at every Grand Prix in 2011 after impressing team bosses in the feeder categories and the winter Formula 1 rookie tests.

Ricciardo has been tipped as the Red Bull junior programme’s next big star and Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari drives are only secured for the first half of the season, indicating that Ricciardo could step in if either driver fail to perform.

‘We know Daniel is a fast driver, and we will have another voice in the team to judge what we need to improve, what we need to achieve. And it’s also great for him to get this chance of driving an F1 car on Fridays, getting to know the tracks. I think Daniel is an important part of the team.? a diplomatic Alguersuari told Autosport Magazine.

The Spaniard denied that his presence would add pressure on him and team mate Buemi, as the pressure comes from within: ‘In the end, the pressure is always in your hands. You live and you die with your own pressure. It’s never the others, it’s yours, it’s what you create in your mind.

Ironically the last ?next big thing? to come through the Red Bull junior programme also made their debut mid-season for Toro Rosso. In 2007 the team decided to drop Scott Speed for a certain Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo will certainly be hoping to follow in his footsteps.