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Ma aims to be China's first full-fledged F1 driver


14:00, April 13, 2013

SHANGHAI, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Ma Qinghua has kept himself upbeat but refused to set a time table after the 25-year-old Shanghai native narrowly missed his chance of becoming the first Chinese-born driver ever to drive a Formula One car at an FIA-sanctioned event.

He could have become China's first ever F1 driver with his former Spanish team HRT, which bowed out of the world championships' 2013 racing season for bankrupcy, and joined Caterham as a test driver.

Driving a Renault in Shanghai International Circuit on Friday, Ma completed his home debut and finished at the bottem of the drivers' classification when Practice One got off this weekend's China Grand Prix.

His fastest time of one minute and 43.545 seconds was nearly 7 seconds behind pace-setter Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.

"We're very pleased to see his practice a successful one," commented Tom Webb, head of communications of Caterham F1 team.

According to the team official, Ma was not expected to run as fast as he can but to just do his test job for the racing car.

"We wanted him to do a number of testing tasks. We asked him to be carefully considerate, not making mistakes, and he did exactly that. We couldn't ask more from a driver at his age and his experience.

"To be honest, the times at the practices today were not important," Webb added. "We didn't ask him to go out try as fast as possible in his laps, because that's not what we required for a FP (free practice) run."

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