It has not been the best of festive periods for the Manor Race Team reserve driver Rio Haryanto.
Manor Race Team Fan Blog understands that the likeable Indonesian who participated in 12 races for Manor Race Team in 2016 has been told by his management team that all hope of a full time F1 seat in 2017 have dramatically disappeared.
Haryanto had been heavily linked with a move to Sauber and more recently with a return to Manor Race Team after it had been suggested that the Banbury team were subject to a takeover bid by Indonesian investors. However, it is believed that Sauber was his first choice and up until a couple of days ago he and his management team believed that a deal would be done.
Negotiations had gone as far as fee being agreed between the two parties, and Haryanto went on a festive break convinced he would be returning to the F1 grid for 2017.
In the past 48 hours we have learnt that Haryanto’s main sponsor has suddenly pulled the plug on their sponsorship leaving the deal between him and Sauber dead in the water.
The Haryanto camp are understandably dismayed by the recent turn of events given that they have been let down badly by sponsors before. Rio, we are informed, is heartbroken at the recent turn in developments which has come about out of the blue.
We understand that the reason given for the withdrawal is political and once the full story is out in the public domain his legions of fans will not be very happy with the parties concerned. Out of respect for our sources and Rio we will not divulge any further information for the moment, other than to say that baffling corporate interference in Indonesia is the reason Rio Haryanto will not be returning to the F1 grid next year.