Tung is first Chinese F1 driver
( 2003-12-13 13:38) (Agencies)
Tung Ho-Pin became the first Chinese driver to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car when he tested for Williams at the Jerez circuit in Spain on Thursday.
The 21-year-old, who earned his opportunity by winning this season's Formula BMW Asia series, drove 42 laps of the 4.428km circuit.
"After driving a 140bhp Formula BMW car last season, stepping into a 900bhp Formula One car was terrifying as well as the fulfilment of a lifetime's ambition," Tung said in a Williams statement.
"It is of course also a matter of some pride to be the first Chinese driver to get behind the wheel of such a prestigious Formula One car."
Tung said Williams drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Marc Gene helped him.
"They answered all the questions I had before getting into the car," he said. "I was stunned by the performance of the car, it was like a drug and I was also quite surprised that I had no physical problems by the end of the session."
BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen was impressed by Tung's performance.
"We have been keeping our eyes on Ho-Pin for some time now and his 12 pole positions and 10 wins from 14 starts this year promises much," he said. "I am glad to say he handled his Formula One test in a very mature fashion. His approach and his improvement over the course of the day did prove he has serious potential as a racing driver."
BMW Williams team principal Frank Williams said Tung's testing session was particularly significant with the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix set to take place in Shanghai on September 26 next year.
"The prospect of Formula One awakening the interests of a substantial element of the Chinese TV population is something that I personally find very stimulating," Williams said.
"I believe his (Tung's) engagement with the BMW Williams F1 team in Jerez
will only serve to stimulate valuable interest in Formula One in one of the few
remaining virgin territories for the sport."
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