The inevitable news that Rio Haryanto would be replaced by Esteban Ocon for the remainder of the season was officially confirmed by the team this morning.
Whilst it had became apparent to us that Rio was not going to be able to provide the required funds for at least a month now, the timing of the decision took us a little by surprise. So much so we didn’t even get prior warning and we are currently sitting in the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where everyone seems to be having a great time seemingly immune to the fact that poor Rio Haryanto has just lost his F1 seat. Some people have no heart.
Due to a lack of technology, there is a very little we can offer on today’s breaking story. A lot has gone on behind the scenes and one thing we can say for sure right now is that Rio Haryanto has been let down badly by certain people who have taken him and the team for a ride. We will be naming and shaming once we are sitting back in MRTFB HQ later this week.
We will quickly say this, Rio Haryanto did himself and Indonesia proud during his brief spell in F1. He was a fore runner to hopefully more Indonesian F1 drivers and opened up a massive market for the team and sport. He attended every embassy meet and greet and was proud to represent his country. He was always friendly and warm with the media and going by what I have read thus far, a popular member of the F1 paddock.
His on track performances were way better than anyone outside this blog imagined and he can leave with his head held high due to an impressive qualifying performance. He has been offered the role of the teams reserve driver for the rest of the season but it has yet to be confirmed that we will take up the offer.
Is it the end of his time in F1? It is far too early to tell but looking at the current landscape it is very hard to see where else he could go to get a full time drive. It would not surprise us if Rio ends up being a reserve driver for a midfield team next season. Since we have got very good at this predictions game of late, let’s go with Force India.
Despite what some may think, this is a Manor Racing Fan Blog and not a Rio Haryanto tribute page. We have been huge fans of the team since 2010 and the prospect of Rio Haryanto driving for the team was far off in the distance when we started this blog. It is fair to say that we have concentrated on Rio over Pascal but that is purely because we liked Rio’s story and he has provided with non stop talking points. This blog was not designed for me to write boring race reports about races I did not attend (although it doesn’t stop others) nor give me the chance to show my lack of technical knowledge of how a F1 car works (see above). Rio’s story of being the first Indonesian driver to make it to F1 and the only Asian driver on the current grid made his tale a fun one tell.
I also enjoyed that his presence opened up F1 to a new market and his legions of fans. At times they where a little overly enthusiastic shall we say, but on a whole it has been a joy to communicate with his fan base whose love of Rio is unlike anything I have witnessed in my 20 years of watching F1. A special thank you must go to a nameless person for the access to information and keeping us updated on the going on behind the scenes. I owe you a beer.
We have enjoyed every moment of covering Rio Haryanto driving for Manor and make no apologies for that. We wish him all the best in the future.
Thank you Rio, it has been a pleasure.