• Italian Grand Prix

Ma Qing Hua gets HRT FP1 run

ESPN Staff
September 5, 2012 « Spa 'firmly behind me' - Hamilton | Raikkonen unconcerned by Monza record »
Ma Qing Hua tested for HRT during the Silverstone Young Driver Test in July © Sutton Images
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HRT will run its young driver Ma Qing Hua during first free practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Friday.

It will be Qing Hua's debut appearance at a world championship event having only previously driven for HRT at the Silverstone Young Driver Test earlier this year. It will also be the first time a Chinese driver has participated in a grand prix weekend. Qing Hua will replace Narain Karthikeyan during FP1 and said it was a key time in his progression.

"This is a very important step towards my dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver," Qing Hua 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 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."

Team principal Luis Perez-Sala said he's pleased with the progress Qing Hua has shown this year.

"Personally, it fills me with satisfaction to be able to give Ma the opportunity to make his debut at a Grand Prix, and to do it in FP1 at a classic circuit like Monza makes it even more special," Perez-Sala said. "Since we started working with him in March everything has been very quick but he's responded and overcome every phase accordingly. From tests with World Series or GP2 cars, passing through sessions on the simulator, to the Formula 1 tests in Silverstone where he completed 500 km with no problems. He's shown to us that he's on a good level and has transmitted the necessary confidence to take the next step, which is to make his debut at a free practice session of a Grand Prix.

"He's fulfilled our expectations without making any mistakes and has proven himself as a quick and safe driver with a great capability to adapt, besides also possessing a very positive and professional attitude. Without a doubt, this is a very important step which comes with great responsibility, but we consider that he's prepared to take it on."