Yesterday we brought you the news via our Indonesian correspondent that Manor officials had set a deadline of next Tuesday for Rio Haryanto to provide 15 million Euro’s to secure a full time seat at the team for next season. We also reported that a second option was now on the table to him. 5 million Euro’s for 7 races. Given that he has now started a crowdfunding infinitive to help him raise funds it is looking very likely that this new option may be his best bet.
Our suggestion, and it was purely that, was that the team were maybe considering splitting the 2nd seat within the team. Now we have a degree in social sciences and did stats classes and everything so could quickly spot that 7 races into a 21 race season calendar could mean that it was conceivable that two other drivers may have been offered the same deal. Both Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens have publicly stated that they too are also confident of racing for the team and maybe they are all telling the truth!
Well it looks like our hunch may very well be true! AutoBild Magazine have just published an article which claims that for about five million Euros they will do seven races of the season each. Rio Haryanto would start with the first five opening round and return for the Singapore and Japanese Grand Prix’s. Will Stevens would drive the European races and Alexander Rossi would participate in the North and South American races.
Autobild is a well respected publication with a lot more research funds available to them than this humble little blog, not to mention probably well connected to Mercedes so perhaps they have had a tip off to the negotiation process. Or they read this blog yesterday, copy and pasted the information and did not bother to link back to my site.
We will give them the benefit of the doubt.
When I released the blog onto social media yesterday the prospect of the splitting the second seat received a look warm response from fans. I can see both sides. First of all, it will be hard for fans to judge the comparative performance of the drivers if they are swapping every few races.
However, from the teams point of view, if they want to raise 15 million Euro’s from the second seat and it is becoming clear that neither of the three have it, the only way they are going to get it is if Pedro Diniz comes out of retirement or they let the three current contenders split the bill three ways.
The extra PR that comes with having a driver with a local connection at various race weekends may also be worth a few more dollars to the team.
Finally, it also maybe considered a risk for the team. Current F1 regulations state that a team can field no more than four drivers throughout the season. A call up to the Mercedes team or injury to Pascal Wehrlein means that either Alexander Rossi, Rio Haryanto or Will Stevens may get a free ride at some point during the season.