Rio Haryanto named worst driver of the season by English newspaper


Dear reader,

We have been fairly down in the dumps since Felipe Nasr broke our fragile little hearts in Brazil. So we greatly appreciated the belly full of laughs Guardian journalist Paul Weaver gave us today with his article ‘F1 2016: from Rosberg and Verstappen to Ferrari, the season’s best and worst.’

Now we will admit that we are regular Guardian readers and it is our go to place for foreign film recommendations and couscous recipes. However, its F1 coverage is not exactly famed for it’s excellence. As much as we would rather shove needles in our eyes than actually buy The Daily Telegraph we have to admit that it tends to be one of the few Fleet Street papers which still produces quality F1 articles. In recent years, I can’t think of a single F1 exclusive The Guardian has broke. I’m not even sure the esteemed Mr Weaver attends all the races.

Anyway, bored on our lunch break today we were searching The Guardian website for pretentious dinner party food recommendations and we saw the above mentioned article and gave it a quick scan. I nearly choked on my quinoa and kale salad.

Let’s take a look at what Weaver thinks of Rio Haryanto.

“Rio Haryanto, if you remember him. He always looked destined to replace the maladroit Pastor Maldonado in our hearts. He made his debut in the first race in Australia and crashed into Romain Grosjean in practice. He was handed a three-place grid penalty and had two points added to his licence; he retired from the race on the 18th lap. In August, Manor demoted him to reserve team driver.”

Now we get accused often of being Rio Haryanto fanboys and just as often get called Rio Haters so it suggests our coverage of him has been quite balanced. Rio will never win an F1 race. Infact, we think he’ll be lucky to make another start in an F1 car but it utter nonsense to suggest he was the worst driver of the year. However, whilst he was in F1 he acquitted himself quite well and quietly impressed those who previously had low expectations. He kept a Mercedes backed driver on his toes and was shown to be more than a match for him in qualifying and over a single lap had more success than Esteban Ocon had.

It was widely acknowledge that the punishment in Melbourne was rather drastic in a incident that both drivers were at fault but comparing this low speed incident with the actions of Pastor Maldonado is grossly unfair. Weaver also fails to mention the reason for Manor dropping Haryanto in August. If Rio had delivered the funds he had promised he would have finished the year with the team. It had nothing to do with on-track performances.

The laughs don’t stop their folks. I would argue that Danny Kyvat, Esteban Guiterrez and Jolyon Palmer all had far more disappointing seasons that Rio. But not for Mr Weaver. Infact one of them is a hero! Hold on to your sides as here is what Mr Weaver writes:

“Hero of the year – Jolyon Palmer. This is a slow burner of a driver. It took him a long apprenticeship in GP2 before he finally won the series and now the same thing appears to be happening to him in F1. After a hesitant start he has settled in at Renault and, in the latter part of the season, regularly got the better of his more experienced team‑mate, Kevin Magnussen. He may not be a future world champion but he is a British driver to be proud of.”

Now we have nothing against Jolyon and we are sure he is a lovely chap but he was terrible this year and looked every bit of a driver who had to dump a truck load of daddies money at a F1 teams door to get a drive. Yes he will be retained for 2017 (providing the money hits the bank) but purely because they asked every other driver on the grid and none of them were that desperate.

Weavers article is one of the many articles written this year about Haryanto which smacks of double standards. ‘British Pay Drivers = Good. Asian Pay drivers = Bad.

You never heard a single peep out of the usual British outlets regarding the health of the bank balances Max Chilton or Will Stevens when they were depositing money in the Manor account but not a single article was written about Rio this season by the British press without mentioning his finances. The problem with this is that these reports are read without a second thought by a lot of F1 fans we come across on social media.

We will leave you with something we read the other week. It was been rumored that Esteban Guiterrez will be joining Manor with the aid of some Mexican sponsorship. This outraged one member of a Manor Fans Facebook page heavily populated by British based fans stating the he was “sick to the back teeth of pay drivers ruining F1.”

Of course that statement is a clear sign that the poster literally has no idea how F1 works nor appreciates how many great F1 drivers had to pay for their first ride. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and let it slip and instead asked him who should get the drive then?

“The drive should go to Jordan King” was his reply.