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Has HRT signed Ma to 2013 race deal?

Rumours from China claim that Ma Qing Hua has been signed to a race deal by HRT.
China could finally have its first F1 race driver in 2013, amid reports emanating from Shanghai that Ma Qing Hua is to be promoted from the occasional testing role to partner Pedro de la Rosa at HRT.

Ma was a surprise addition to the Spanish team's roster ahead of the Silverstone 'young driver' test in July, but has since been given a handful of Friday morning practice outings with the squad, mostly at the expense of Narain Karthikeyan. Now, with the Indian rumoured to be exploring the IndyCar scene for next year, Ma appears to have earned himself the chance to graduate to the full race line-up.

According to the Tencent sports channel, the 24-year old Shanghai native was announced as one half of HRT's line-up for 2013 during a press conference in his home city, a move which would make him the first Chinese native to be given a shot at competing in a full grand prix season. Dutch-born Ho-Pin Tung, of course, tested with the Williams team but never actually contested an F1 event.

Ma's latest outing saw him complete the first of three free practice sessions around the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi some 1.6secs off Marussia debutant Max Chilton, and a further 1.4secs off what Karthikeyan would go on to achieve in the quicker evening session. HRT will no doubt be hoping that his place in the squad will bring sponsorship from China, despite having had its fingers burned in a similar experiment with Karthikeyan and India.

Should the deal be ratified by HRT, it is likely that Ma will partner veteran de la Rosa in 2013, the Spaniard having been all but confirmed by team principal Luis Perez Sala in the wake of the Korean Grand Prix. de la Rosa, a renowned test and development driver who spent many seasons working behind the scenes to give McLaren a winning car, also brings a vital Spanish element to the Madrid-based HRT squad as it seeks to embrace its home nation.

Ma's signing would also end any immediate hopes nominated reserve Dani Clos may have of joining de la Rosa in an all-Spanish line-up, the GP2 Series race winner having had his own Friday outings curtailed by the Chinese driver's arrival. Jaime Alguersuari and Giedo van der Garde have both also been linked to HRT, but are thought unlikely to have included the minnow in their plans for next season. Alguersuari is still being talked of as a possible Sauber or Force India pilot, while van der Garde has his immediate sights set on graduating with Caterham.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dani Clos (ESP), Test Driver, HRT Formula 1 Team F112
25.10.2012- Press conference, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
26.10.2012- Free Practice 1, Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
06.09.2012- Ma Qing Hua (CHI), Test Driver, HRT Formula 1 Team F112
06.09.2012- Ma Qing Hua (CHI), Test Driver, HRT Formula 1 Team F112
07.09.2012- Free Practice 1, Ma Qing Hua (CHI), Test Driver, HRT Formula 1 Team F112
21.09.2012 - Free Practice 1, Ma Qing Hua (CHN) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) Test Driver
07.09.2012- Free Practice 1, Ma Qing Hua (CHI), Test Driver, HRT Formula 1 Team F112
28.05.2017 - Race, Adriana Lima (BRA) Model and Carmen Jorda (ESP) Renault Sport Formula One Team Development Driver
Maria de la Rosa (ESP) at the Amber Lounge Fashion Show.
Maria de la Rosa (ESP) at the Amber Lounge Fashion Show.
13.04.2017 - Luis Garcia Abad (ESP), manager of Fernando Alonso (ESP) and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
09.04.2017 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 and Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Elio de Angelis
24.03.2017 - Free Practice 2, Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director and Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
22.10.2016 - Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid pole position and Rosa Salazar, Actress
22.10.2016 - Qualifying, Rosa Salazar, Actress

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kedharf1 - Unregistered

November 06, 2012 1:05 PM

If this is true (or if they are even considering it), HRT would make themselves even more of a joke than they are! And to those who are comparing Ma with Narain, are you crazy? Narain is a proven, credible racing driver who has won in EVERY single seater championship he has raced in except F1, against the likes of Jenson Button etc... He set the fastest non f1 lap in Brazil, he gave Carlin Motorsport their first ever win in racing! He outqualified De La Rosa by 1 second in singapore and his FP3 times on prime tyres were faster than DLR's quali times on options! For the 2nd half of the season. He has consistently missed FP1 and FP2 has been wet mostly, so despite effectively going into qualifying with one hour of running, he has more or less matched DLR. People like Lewis Hamilton, David Coulthard, Pedor DLR, Jackie Stewart, Peter Windsor, Emerson Fittipaldi have shown their confidence in his speed.

rb27 - Unregistered

November 06, 2012 11:10 AM

What a Joke this has to be the worst line up in F1 EVER!! MA Qing Hua will be an absolute liability and danger to all the other drivers his only wins ever in a car have been in a 1.6 Touring car. F1 is supposed to be for the BEST drivers in the world!!

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