Although yet to be confirmed by both driver and team, this evening it was reported by respected F1 journalist Daniel Johnston that Will Stevens has lost his seat at Manor. Johnston claims that Rio Haryanto will replace the Stevens and line up on the grid for Manor in 2016.
This is in line with this weeks developments that has seen Manor officials meeting Haryanto in Indonesia as well as Haryanto meeting with local businessmen to raise further sponsorship, we also understand another wealthy individual based outside Indonesia may also be contributing to Haryanto’s fund which is believed to around 15 million euro’s. We understand that 3 million US dollars have already been deposited in Manor’s bank account. If successful, Haryanto will become the first ever Indonesian to race in F1.
Reports have also circulated around the Indonesian media that both the Indonesian and UK governments have been helping out in negotiations. Whilst economic relations between the two nations has strengthened of late, we can find no such evidence that this has indeed been the case.
Stevens, who earlier today sent out a cryptic instagram message, brought his own sponsorship package last year – around £6 million – and we at Manor Racing Team Fan Blog will forever be thankful for him coming to our rescue at our team of need last season. Without his funding the team may not have survived. Unfortunately for him, two drivers it appears could match or better his finances and it is hard to argue that Stevens is a more proven driver than the two remaining candidates who would also have the bonus of marketability in their respective countries. If Stevens had been selected, he would have been the 4th Brit on the grid, two of whom are World Champions. He received next to no press attention outside the motor-sport media last season.
We would love to still see Stevens in F1 next season. With all the seats taken, a reserve driver role might be his only option. Williams require a replacement for Adrian Sutil and we think an experienced, funded, British driver would fit in very well at Williams.
We hope to see him back in F1 soon.