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HRT denies Ma Qing Hua rumours

ESPN Staff
November 7, 2012 « Tony Fernandes confirms Caterham exit | Eco changes stalled by engine manufacturers »
Ma Qing Hua: a case of the Chinese media jumping the gun? © Sutton Images
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HRT has denied reports in the Chinese media that Ma Qing Hua has been chosen as one of its drivers for the 2013 season.

The state media claimed that the announcement was made at a press conference in Shanghai on Tuesday afternoon. Ma has driven in three practice sessions for HRT, the last time in Abu Dhabi, but has not done anything to suggest he would be getting the race seat on ability alone.

Ma was quoted in local reports as saying: "I want to thank my country for their incredible support ... during what has been a long journey to get to this moment. Now it's time to keep working and training as hard as always and I look forward to it all."

But as rumours circulated, an HRT spokesman told GPUpdate.net: "The press conference wasn't such thing, but a tribute paid by the Chinese authorities to Ma for what he's achieved this season. That was it."

At the Shanghai event David Mancebo, HRT's business director, said. "[Ma] has progressed notably in his development as a driver and has fitted into the team perfectly. He's a driver with incredible talent and great potential. Our team is a young one with a project which is still under construction that looks to the future and, without a doubt, we would like to continue counting on Ma Qing Hua for the future as we have done this year".

Zhao Yingua, chairman of Shanghai Automobile and Motorsports Association, added: "It's an important milestone for Chinese motorsport, and from now on, we move into a new era. We are very proud of him and we wish him and the team the very best. We will also make a big effort to support him."