It seems that the reports about Ma Qing Hua signing for HRT for next year may be a little premature. The event in China from which the stories emanated was simply a celebration of him becoming the first Chinese-born driver in an Formula 1 car. The event featured all manner of local dignitaries but was not confirmation of a new deal, at least not publicly.
After having joined HRT Formula 1 Team’s Driver Development Programme last May, Ma got his first chance to drive for the team in the Young Driver Test in Silverstone in July and has attended most of the Grands Prix with the team and drive in the Friday morning sessions at the Italian, Singapore and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. He has done a decent job.
“At HRT Formula 1 Team we are very happy with Ma Qing Hua since he began with us,” said David Mancebo, the team’s Business Director. “He has progressed notably in his development as a driver and has fitted into the team perfectly. He’s a driver with incredible talent and great potential. He has also met the expectations of every challenge he has been presented with and which were more complicated each time. Our team is a young one with a project which is still under construction that looks to the future and, without a doubt, we would like to continue counting on Ma Qing Hua for the future as we have done this year”.
It is hoped that money can be found either in China or from a multinational keen to do business in China to keep Ma in F1 and build up Chinese interest in the sport.
Will a deal come? Maybe.
Is it done yet? Only if it is conditional on money!