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Ma Qing Hua joined HRT's young driver programme just three months ago, yesterday he finally had the opportunity to drive the F112 at the Young Driver Test at Silverstone.
According to the team he passed the test with flying colours and it wasn't only a great day for the team but also for Formula 1 in general as he became the first driver born in China to drive a Formula 1 car at an official event.
Yesterday you stepped into a Formula 1 car for the first time, what was that first contact like?It was a fantastic experience and it's really hard to put into words everything I felt when I got into the Formula 1 car. It was very special but also productive; a great day. Everything went perfect; the weather was on our side, it didn't rain and we were able to carry out the established programme without any trouble. It was intense because we practically didn't stop but that enabled us to cover a lot of miles and finish with a good time. My family and some friends were present and it was very special. The team also supported me a lot and I want to thank them for their work.
What was the work programme?The days before the test were non-stop and the team focused completely on me to prepare the test programme, the steering wheel, the seat, the pedal measurements... All the details that have to be perfectly under control ahead of the test. I must confess that the night before I struggled to sleep a bit because it was an important test and I didn't want to make any mistakes. But everything went well and we basically did everything. Short stints and qualifying simulations with both tyre compounds, long stints, start simulations, pit stop practices... It was a very intense but productive experience.
And all of this in only one day...Yes, everything went smoothly and we almost did 500 km! It didn't rain, there were no interruptions on the track or anything that forced us to stop, so we were able to cover everything we had planned in just one day.
What was the objective of this test in particular?Mainly for me to adapt to the car and to gain confidence in different situations. It wasn't a matter of proving anything but for us to work together and improve with every lap without making mistakes.
Was it just how you expected?In truth it was quite different to what I expected. The F112 is much more comfortable than I thought on the track. You can push it to the limit and it feels good, very stable. I felt comfortable with the balance of the car and with the team's work, because I think we jell together very well and the result was optimal. It was much better than I expected.
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