Over the past few days we have received numerous excited tweets from our Indonesian followers informing Manor Racing Fan Blog HQ that Manor officials were flying to Indonesia to meet Rio Haryanto. We aim not to pointlessly speculate here at Manor Racing Fan Blog HQ and will only report Manor related information once it has been confirmed by some of the excellent F1 journalists and media outlets that we trust. Since we had heard not a peep out of anyone outside Indonesia, we remained skeptical over the possibility of this meeting taking place.
However, as the picture above confirms, Manor officials did indeed meet with Rio Haryanto today (10/02) in Jakarta.
A report from Indonesian website TopSkor, states that Rio was joined by his family, his manager Piers Hunnisett, a representative from Indonesia’s Ministry of Sport and Manor’s Grand Prix director, Abdulla Boulsien. The result of the meeting are still unknown.
However, a meeting on the day that Manor announced Pascal Wehrlein as a driver for the team in the forthcoming season, it is an noteworthy development to see Haryanto and Manor officials together in Indonesia. The presence of the government official is also key, as it is the funding or lack therefore of, from the government that is believed to be holding up the deal between the two sides.
Several reports today suggest that the team are also still in talks with Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi for second race seat. Theoretically, the team could rely on Wehrlein to undertake the testing duty for the first and second test days and may not have to make a decision regarding their second driver, until the third and final test of the pre-season on the 1st of March.
Moreover, Manor want the best drivers possible because a decent showing in 2016 will raise the prize money significantly in 2017 and will not be rushed into making such an important decision.
Edit – Many thanks to big Manor fan @lundo88 on Twitter for correctly identifying Piers Hunnisett.