Monza, Wednesday the 5th of September 2012 -- Ma Qing Hua will make his official debut in the Formula 1 World Championship this upcoming Friday at the first free practice session of the Italian Grand Prix which takes place in Monza this week. The 24 year old Chinese driver will replace Narain Karthikeyan at the wheel of the number 23 F112-03 for this session.
Since joining the team, and following the development programme that HRT Formula 1 Team specifically prepared for him, Ma Qing Hua has been preparing himself throughout these past months for the challenge presented by Formula 1 by testing with lower category cars, working on the simulator and going through a rigorous physical training regime. After the Young Driver Test celebrated at Silverstone, where the Shanghai-born driver completed 483.062 km that impressed the team, and being granted a Formula 1 Super Licence by the FIA, the team considers that he is ready to take the next step and has decided to line him up alongside Pedro de la Rosa for FP1 at the Italian Grand Prix.
Ma Qing Hua will make history once again this Friday alongside HRT Formula 1 Team by becoming the first Chinese driver to drive at a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Ma Qing Hua: "This is a very important step towards my dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver. 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.
It will be the first time that a Chinese driver takes part in a Grand Prix and that, for Chinese motorsport, is another huge stride and a fantastic opportunity. I want to thank all the people who have supported and helped me to get here. From my parents and China Sport Management to the Chinese Motorsport Federation, the companies that have supported and support me, and of course HRT Formula 1 Team for giving me this opportunity. I won’t let them down”.
Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: "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. 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 attit ude. 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”.