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HRT sign up Ma Qing Hua to driver development programme 05 Apr 2012

Ma Qing Hua Qinghua Ma (CHI) A1 Team China. A1 Grand Prix, Rd11, Practice, Shanghai, China, USA, 31 March 2006. Luis Perez-Sala (ESP) HRT Formula One Team, Team Prinicpal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 17 March 2012

HRT have announced that Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua has been incorporated into the team's driver development programme. Qing Hua will be assessed over the coming months at private tests, using cars from different categories, and if he progresses well, he could enjoy an outing for the Spanish team at the young driver test later this year.

"I’m very honoured to form a part of the driver development programme at HRT since, with work and effort, it will allow me to become the first Chinese Formula One driver,” said the 24 year-old. “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 One driver since I was very small.

“And now finally my childhood dream has become true thanks to the opportunity that HRT has granted. 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.”

Qing Hua started racing at eight and won the Chinese youth national karting championship when he was 12 years-old. He continued to race karts until 2004, when he entered the Asian Formula Renault Series and won the championship. In 2005 he represented Team China in A1 Grand Prix.

He moved on to Formula Renault 2.0 NEC in 2006, before competing in Formula Three Spain. In 2009 the Chinese driver took part in various British Formula Three International Series events, before representing Team China for two races in the 2010 Superleague Formula. In 2011 he competed in the Chinese Touring Car Championship and won the title after claiming four wins and four podiums.

"We are working so that one of the team’s signs of identity is to serve as a platform to launch young drivers, both nationally and internationally,” explained HRT team principal Luis Perez-Sala. “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 One.

“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.”

Qing Hua will take part in a press conference for the Spanish team ahead of next weekend’s Chinese event, which will take place from April 13-15.

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