The 24-year-old Shanghai-born driver got the call up from the Spanish team after completing 82 laps at Silverstone during a young drivers’ session in July.
Ma had previously competed in Formula Renault, A1 Grand Prix, Formula Three and Superleague. He replaces Indian Narain Karthikeyan for the session, HRT announced on their website.
“This is a very important step toward my dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver,” said Ma.
“It will be my second time in the car and I’m very excited about driving at a circuit like Monza.The objective of this session is to continue advancing with my program, rack up more miles and experience at the wheel of an F1 car and help the team with whatever they need.”
Reflecting on the wider significance of Friday’s practice, Ma noted, “It will be the first time that a Chinese driver takes part in a Grand Prix and that for Chinese motor sport is another huge stride and a fantastic opportunity.”
HRT team boss Luis Perez-Sala commented, “Since we started working with him in March everything has been very quick but he’s responded and overcome every phase accordingly.
“He’s fulfilled our expectations without making any mistakes and has proven himself as a quick and safe driver with a great capability to adapt.”