HRT has announced the signing of Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua to its young driver development programme, admitting the 24-year-old might take part in the Young Driver test.
The programme designed by the team for Ma Qing Hua includes professional assessment in his career as a driver, private tests with cars from different categories and simulator tests. If the results of the partnership are satisfactory, he could take to the wheel of the F112 at the Formula 1 Young Driver test.
Ma Qing Hua will perform his first official act with HRT on Thursday April 12 at a press conference prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, the details of which will be announced shortly.
The recruitment of Ma Qing Hua to HRT's programme is part of the Spanish team's strategy in order to serve as a platform for the formation of professionals in the pinnacle of world motorsport. The driver born in Shanghai has been competing in different categories of national and international motorsport for many years. His incorporation takes place after some simulator tests and a testing session in Valencia at the wheel of a World Series car. The qualities and attitude of Qing Hua convinced Luis Perez-Sala of his potential to incorporate him to the programme which Dani Clos, HRT test driver, is also a part of.
"I'm very honoured to form a part of the driver development programme at HRT Formula 1 Team," said Ma Qing Hua, "since, with work and effort, it will allow me to become the first Chinese Formula 1 driver. 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. I started in the karting world when I was 8 years old and I worked really hard to learn and become quicker every time. After competing in categories such as Formula campus, Formula Renault and F3, I learned a lot about car set-up, technique on circuits and team work to become more professional every time. 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."
"We are working so that one of the team's signs of identity is to serve as a platform to launch young drivers," added Luis Perez-Sala, "both nationally and internationally. 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."