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HRT signs Chinese driver to development programme

ESPNF1 Staff
April 5, 2012 « Hill makes Bahrain u-turn | Mercedes working on tyre usage »
Ma Qing Hua will join the team at the Chinese Grand Prix next weekend © HRT

HRT has added Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua to its driver development programme.

Qing Hua won the Asian Formula Renault championship in 2004, going on to race for China in A1GP the following year as well as driving in Superleague Formula in 2010. Last year he won the Chinese Touring Car Championship with four victories and four podiums, and after impressing HRT during simulator tests and a run in a Renault World Series car he joins Dani Clos in its development programme.

"I'm very honoured to form a part of the driver development programme at HRT Formula 1 Team since, with work and effort, it will allow me to become the first Chinese Formula 1 driver," Qing Hua said. "It's a very special moment for me and it's hard to express how happy I am. I've dreamt of becoming a Formula 1 driver since I was very small.

"And now finally my childhood dream has become true thanks to the opportunity that HRT has granted me to become an F1 driver. And even more so this year with all the drivers who are competing, with 6 world champions amongst them. Driving an F1 car will be the most incredible experience and I'm going to work hard to earn it. Thanks to HRT for offering me the chance to show what I'm capable of. And thanks to my family and everyone who has always supported me. This is only the beginning."

The team has announced that Qing Hua could take part in the Young Driver Test at the end of the season if he impresses, and HRT team principal Luis Perez-Sala said he had been impressed with his pace so far.

"We are working so that one of the team's signs of identity is to serve as a platform to launch young drivers, both nationally and internationally," Perez-Sala said. "Ma Qing Hua is one those talents in which we believe and we want to help him in his career so that he can make it to Formula 1. We like his conditions and we want to take part in his formation by incorporating him to the team's Driver Development Programme so that he can participate in races and private tests, with the objective of him being able to take part in the Formula 1 tests reserved to young drivers.

"Due to my responsibility in the Circuit de Catalunya young driver programme, I've been able to follow his progress and personally assisted some tests he did. I knew he had potential, but I was surprised with his speed, safety, adaptation capacity, attitude and professionalism. All these virtues make us believe that his incorporation to the programme will be very positive and will lead to a fruitful and lasting relationship."

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