Ma Qing Hua to make history
HRT driver will become first Chinese to take part in an F1 weekend
By William Esler. Last Updated: 05/09/12 12:45pm
Ma Qing Hua will make history at the Italian Grand Prix by becoming the first Chinese-born driver to be involved in a Formula 1 race weekend.
The 24-year-old will replace Narain Karthikeyan in the HRT during first practice at Monza after being granted his Super Licence by the FIA.
Ma Qing Hua is part of the team's driver development programme and has tested lower formula cars as well as carrying out simulator work this season. His only previous experience of a Formula 1 car came at the Silverstone young driver test, where he drove on the first of the two days.
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"This is a very important step towards my dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver," Ma said.
"It will be my second time in the car, after the Young Driver Test in Silverstone, and I'm very excited about driving at a circuit like Monza. The objective of this session is to continue advancing with my programme, rack up more miles and experience at the wheel of an F1 car and help the team with whatever they need.
"I'm excited but also calm about it because I've been training hard in the past months to be prepared when the opportunity presented itself.
"I've also worked on the simulator to get to know the circuits a bit better and how a Formula 1 car reacts. In the last months when I've been with the team at grands prix I've also learned a lot from the engineers and my teammates, who have shared information and their experience, which will be very useful.
"It will be the first time that a Chinese driver takes part in a Grand Prix and that, for Chinese motorsport, is another huge stride and a fantastic opportunity. I want to thank all the people who have supported and helped me to get here.
"From my parents and China Sport Management to the Chinese Motorsport Federation, the companies that have supported and support me, and of course HRT Formula 1 Team for giving me this opportunity. I won't let them down."