The life of a third driver: Klien
As the BMW Sauber F1 Team's test and reserve driver, Christian Klien is used to being in the shadow of the squad's GP regulars, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld. Nonetheless, the Austrian doesn't get time to relax and take it easy during the season, he has to be ready to race at any time and therefore he has to be physically and mentally fit throughout the year - whether it be for testing or competing in a race.
"For me, it doesn't make much difference if I come to a Grand Prix weekend as a race driver or as a test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team." Klien explains. "I train just as intensively either way, and mentally as well as physically I have to be as strong as the other two. After all, you never know what's going to happen, and when you'll be called on to deliver you're a professional. If you have to stand in for somebody and you are not prepared - or not physically fit - things can go horribly wrong."
That's why Christian is involved in all the BMW Sauber F1 Team activities over a Grand Prix weekend and attends the technical briefings, debriefings, media appointments and strategy meetings. Prior to the race he joins the team when it walks around the track and listens to the pit-radio communications from the very first practice session. Therefore, twelve-hour days are not rare for the Austrian.
Away from the track, a sophisticated fitness programme is an obligatory component of his daily schedule - although his chances of getting behind the wheel of the BMW Sauber F1.09 are limited. While doing so he is supported by an individual coach who helps him to create a diversified fitness and coordination training programme: "We go mountain biking and skiing and I train on the ergometer or sharpen my balance with an ingenious exercise programme. After all, as a Formula One driver all your senses come into play."
Source BMW Sauber