HRT denies signing Qing Hua for 2013

Autosport

HRT insists Pedro de la Rosa is the only driver confirmed for the 2013 season, denying reports that Ma Qing Hua has already signed to race with the team next year.

Chinese driver Ma joined the Spanish squad earlier this season and has so far taken part in first practice for the Italian, Singapore and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix replacing Narain Karthikeyan.

The 24-year-old from Shanghai also drove for the team in the young driver test at Silverstone in July.

Reports in the Chinese media on Tuesday claimed Ma had already signed a contract with HRT to be promoted to a full-time racing seat alongside de la Rosa.

The Madrid-based squad, however, said that while it would be happy to keep Ma involved in the team next year, reports about a new deal are wide of the mark.

"At the moment our only confirmed driver for 2013 is Pedro," an HRT spokesperson told AUTOSPORT.

On Tuesday, Chinese authorities paid homage to Ma - the first Chinese Formula 1 driver - during an event at the International Tennis Centre in Shanghai.

"It's a special day for me today as it's amazing to receive all this support," said Ma.

"We have worked very hard to get here and I want to thank my country for their incredible support Now it's time to keep working and training as hard as always and I look forward to it all."

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