Today saw the first part of the two day Silverstone Young Guns test, which just three of the F1 teams are taking part in, rather than the traditional end of season Young Guns test at Abu Dhabi.
Williams, HRT and Marussia have stayed on after the British Grand Prix, to do the two day test, saving significant amount of money in comparison to the end of season event. In some ways it symbolises how divided the teams are on things like cost saving and testing, going forward, but it is nevertheless an F1 test and needs to be reported as such.
It’s no surprise to learn that Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time on a largely dry day’s running in the Williams. He completed 120 laps, more than two race distances. Bottas is Williams’ test and Friday driver and is backed by the increasingly influential Toto Wolff, a minority shareholder in the team.
He is being carefully prepared and has done well so far in his outings on Fridays at Grands Prix.
Meanwhile a little piece of history was made by the first Chinese driver to drive an F1 car in an official F1 test session.
Ma Qing Hua, 24, did 54 laps, a total of 318 kilometres and more than a race distance at Silverstone, at the wheel of the HRT. The team planned only one day’s running and has now packed up and gone back to Spain.
HRT team principal Luis Perez Sala said “It’s not easy to drive a Formula 1 car and 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 a Formula 1 car at every level. He did a great job and now we have to continue working so that he can continue to progress in his journey towards Formula 1”.
Meanwhile the Shanghai born driver, who achieved something millions dream about but few achieve said, “”It was a fantastic feeling to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time.
“I’m very proud to represent China and be a pioneer for my nation in this sport. I’m confident that these tests and the ones that will come in the future will help motorsport to grow in China in the future and will grant more opportunities for everyone. This is only a first small step.”
Ma Qing Hua has competed in the Italian Formula 3000 series and the British Formula 3 Championship. He also had an outing for for A1 Team China at the China round in 2005. Last year he did a couple of races in the Chinese leg of the Superleague Formula Series.