On the eve of the first free practice of the Hungarian Grand Prix Rio Haryanto’s future as a Manor Race Team driver beyond this weekend looks very much still in doubt.
As we acknowledged in our last blog, it is a complicated situation involving government departments trying to spend as little as they had initially promised. Yet at the same time, not being publically seen as the main reason Indonesia’s number 1 sportsman loses his day job. The team also lack a fast, cash happy driver to replace him with. Meaning that frantic negotiations are probably going on between the two parties in an effort to find a middle ground. Rio, it also appears is being left in the dark.
“We’ll see,” Haryanto said. “Obviously if you see me at Hockenheim then I think that would secure the whole season.”
On a track that will not suit the MRT05, Rio remains positive and hopes to turn in an excellent performance to impress the team. Having driven the Hungaroring several times in GP3 and GP2 he has an excellent chance of using his previous experience to jump ahead of Pascal Wehrlein in the qualifying battle between them. It would certainly be a welcome boost to his prospects of staying with the team if he can point to a better qualifying record than his hotly tipped and highly rated team mate.
Meanwhile, word reaches us from Indonesia that his legion of fans will be displaying their love and admiration for their most famous sportsman across social media by using the hashtag #SaveRH88 to show just how much it means for them to be represented by Rio in F1. The cross section of leading Haryanto and F1 fans in Indonesia hope that by encouraging Indonesia’s leading media, sports and wider celebrities to share the hashtag, it will increase the likelyhood of further funding coming from wealthy sources in Indonesia.
We highly suspect and hope that this won’t be Haryanto’s last race for the team. If it that does turn out to be the case, it seems his fans are determined to show Haryanto that he remains as popular as ever in his native country.