Further developments have been announced since we published last nights blog regarding the meeting between Manor officials and Rio Haryanto which took place yesterday in Indonesia. Haryanto was joined by the Managing Director of Manor Racing, Abdulla Boulsien and the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports (Affairs), Imam Nahrawi.
The headline news is Haryanto has been given priority for the second seat in the team. He has been set a deadline of next Tuesday (02/16/2016) to provide the full funds to secure the race seat for the full season. The potential cause of delay of the funds appears to be because The Government of Indonesia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports (Kemenpora) had initially planned to provide financial assistance amounting to Rp 100 billion to support Rio Haryanto. This money has not been forthcoming which has then triggered a delay from Rio’s personal sponsors who are waiting for proof of other funding before releasing their share.
Haryanto was offered a 2nd option if the government funds are not forthcoming and he is left only with his personal sponsors. For five million euros he can drive 1/3 of the season (7 races) which means that the team could be considering a similar deal with Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens. It is conceivable that Haryanto could race the first few races and then return later in the season for the Singapore and Japanese races. Rossi could complete in all the races which take place in North and South America and Will Stevens could participate in the European stage of the season.
Whilst the situation now seems even more complex than ever. We do now at least, have a date in which Haryanto and his team have to meet to guarantee a full race season. He has also been presented with options from the team so they are clearly keen to see him in a race seat at some point in the season if his backers do not come up with the full fee. It appears Indonesia may not have to wait much longer for it’s first ever F1 driver.