Ma Qing Hua to get Singapore outing

After a positive debut at the Italian Grand Prix, Ma Qing Hua will get another free practice outing with the HRT team at the forthcoming Singapore Grand Prix.The Chinese hopeful made a little history by becoming the first driver from his nation to take part in a full grand prix weekend, and will reprise his role when he replaces Narain Karthikeyan in next Friday’s opening session alongside Pedro de la Rosa. After the relatively open spaces of Monza, Hua will have to cope with the walled layout of Marina Bay when he rolls out of the pit-lane for the second time this season, but team principal Luis Perez-Sala is not concerned by the prospect of steepening the rookie’s learning curve.

“Ma will step into the car once more for the first free practice session and the objective is for him to continue learning and improving as he did in Monza, where we were very happy with his work and performance,” the Spaniard commented.

Hua, meanwhile, expressed the usual gratitude at being allowed another opportunity to sample F1 power, which he first tasted during the Silverstone young driver test back in July.

“I’m very happy to drive the F112 for a second time in a row, and I really appreciate the opportunity HRT is giving me,” he noted, “It will be very exciting to drive a F1 around the streets of Singapore. It’s a very demanding track for all of us, but it will be even more of a challenge for me as this is only the second time I will be driving the car at a race weekend.

“But I am looking forward to it and the laps that I added to my tally at the last grand prix in Monza have given me plenty of confidence. I have prepared myself in the simulator, as well as doing some specific exercises to be used to driving at night. This is yet again another step in my career and I look forward to getting more experience at the wheel of an F1 car as well as doing my best to help the team to prepare for the race.”

Singapore will also see the second major upgrade brought to the F112 as HRT attempts to move off the back of the grid and take the fight to Marussia, which has edged away from it since the middle of the season. While every lap of practice will be vital for the drivers – something that Karthikeyan will miss out on on Friday morning – de la Rosa is confident that they can get up to speed.

“We should have a good performance [in Singapore], as there are many slow corners and it is quite similar to Monaco,” the veteran reasoned, “and we’ve got an aero upgrade which should help us to cut down the gap to our rivals.

“I’ve never raced at Singapore, but I know the circuit because of my simulator work as a test driver for McLaren. It’s a spectacular track and probably the toughest circuit on the brakes in the entire championship, as well as being a very physically demanding race because of the heat and humidity. I have to make the most of the practice session to adapt to the circuit, but I’m up for the challenge.”


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