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HRT has named Ma Qing Hua as its driver for the upcoming Young Driver test at Silverstone. Hailing from China, he became the first member of the team’s driver development programme earlier this year. For 2012, the Young Driver test is set to be split into two meetings, with teams needing to choose which of the pair they attend.
With Abu Dhabi’s test remaining in November, the mid-season gathering at Silverstone has been met by widespread criticism from many who claim that those who attend are using the test to collect car data as opposed to running upcoming talents. However, as already highlighted by Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier, most outfits will visit Silverstone due to cheaper logistical solutions.
“I’m very happy and fortunate to have the opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car at the Young Driver Test and do it with HRT,” Qing Hua comments. “I’ve dreamed of this all my life and am aware of the great responsibility that comes with it, as I’ll be the first Chinese driver ever to take part in the Young Driver Test.”
“Over the last few weeks we’ve been working with Ma, as a part of our scheduled development programme, with different cars at the Valencia and Jerez circuits and we consider that he is ready to take part in the Young Driver Test that will take place at Silverstone,” adds HRT team head Luis Pérez-Sala.
“Ma is a young driver who has experience in different categories but who hasn’t perhaps had the continuity which he deserves. He’s very professional, with a positive attitude; he has a feel for the car and, what’s most important, he’s quick. We’ve got faith in his quality and are confident that he will do a good job at Silverstone.”
The official HRT reserve driver for 2012 is Barcelona’s Dani Clos, who is set to step up to the race team next year. Vitantonio Liuzzi also remains on the team’s books.
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