Rio Haryato’s management team have reiterated their determination to see the popular Indonesian back on the F1 grid, with new backers believed to be keen to help support his bid to return to F1 for the 2017.
Haryanto was dropped by Manor after the Hungarian Grand Prix after the funding required to make it to the end of the season did not materialize. Many, including this blog believe that broken promises from Indonesian Government cost Haryanto his place on the F1 grid.
He was replaced by Mercedes backed and soon to be full time Renualt driver Esteban Ocon but has accepted a role as the teams official reserve driver which to the best of our knowledge does not require funding.
Haryanto’s manager Piers Hunnisett told Autosport that when the news broke that Haryanto had been dropped, new backers started to come forward.
“There was shock in Indonesia,” he told Autosport. “They were asking ‘why is our boy not racing?’
“Some people came forward to ask how they could help.
“It woke them up. The money was in place, but Ocon had done the deal. We missed the window by a week.
“We were promised funding by the government and we had some problems there.
“But there were some normal commercial sponsorships, not only from Indonesia but from the rest of Asia as well – one from Japan, one from Thailand – so it all came together. It was just too late.”
Hunnisett said those same backers are interested in helping get Haryanto back on the grid next year with talks set to accelerate from this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The plan is to put together a package that will not require government support.
“We are working for next year and we’re quite optimistic that what has happened has woken everything up,” he said. “It’s realistic now.”
“We always knew it would take time, you have to educate the Asian market about F1, and we just needed a bit longer.
“There are conversations going on about next year but nothing serious.
“In Singapore, I’ll be back in Asia speaking to sponsors and some of the potential investors will be there so let’s see how it goes from there.”
At present, seat at Williams, Renault and Sauber and Manor remain free. It is widely expected that Lance Stroll will join Williams with 30 million dollars hitting Williams bank account. It is highly unlikely Haryanto could compete with that.
Depending on what happens with Williams, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson will likely decide to deposit their money in the Sauber bank account, both drivers have F1 experience and have shown to be reliable at making payments. Given their financial predicament Sauber are unlikely to want to gamble on Rio coming up with the funds.
Now a full works team again it is unlikely that Renault will require a driver that comes with funds.
It appears Haryanto’s only realistic option is to target a race seat with Manor in 2017, but will the team be willing to do business with Rio Haryanto after the broken promises of this season?