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Chinese driver makes F1 history

2012-07-13 07:03

LONDON, England - Ma Qing Hua has made motorsport history by becoming the first Chinese-born driver to test drive for a Formula 1 team.

Ma completed 82 laps of the Silverstone circuit in central England, scene of last weekend's 2012 British F1 GP, for the HRT team during a young drivers' test with a best time of 1minute37.829.

Another Chinese driver, Ho-Pin Tung, tested with Williams in 2003 but he was born in Holland. Ma, 24, is from Shanghai. He was 2011 Chinese Touring Car champion and has raced in Formula Renault, A1 Grand Prix, F3 and Superleague.

'PIONEER FOR MY NATION'

"It was a fantastic feeling to drive an F1 car for the first time," Ma said. "It's not easy to put into words what I felt. The day before it was hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test. I'm very proud to represent China and be a pioneer for my nation in this sport.

"I'm confident these tests, and the ones to come, will help motorsport grow in China and will grant more opportunities for everybody."

Luis Perez Sala, principal of Spain-based HRT, said: "It's not easy to drive F1 but he made no mistakes. We want to take things one step at a time with him and this test was for Ma to have his first real contact with an F1 car at every level.

"He did a great job. Now we have to continue working on his journey towards F1."

Read more on Ma Qing Hua.

AFP