Andy Warhol once famously said: “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” But what he neglected to mention is that it is an utterly terrible idea. We are constantly thinking about that proclamation. Non more so than since we became more active in participating in F1 social-media. The amount of terrible blogs copy and pasting news and ‘In the know’ Twitter handlers simply mak our heads hurt. Now you may (correctly) point out that we too are bloggers, but we don’t do this to drive hits to our site nor seek any comfort in the bullshit we have just written being re-tweeted a thousand times. This is just a simple fan page set up to express our love of F1 and Manor Race Team. In no way will we ever attempt to set or amend the agenda of the day. Unless it is has the potential to be really funny. We have far too much respect to actual real journalists who travel round the world, whose devotion takes them away from loved ones for several months of a year, to pretend to be even a important or skilled enough to do so. We politely ask those who have clearly never been to a race and are sitting in their bedrooms copying and pasting off Twitter and passing it on as news to perhaps do the same.
We try not to let the BS annoy us so much but today it led to us getting a string of frantic tweets regarding a story that took us all of 2 minutes to dispel. The rumor broke out on Twitter and we were able to locate the source as a pretend journalist. So let’s deal with this so called story.
Apparently, according to the ‘journalist’ Rio Haryanto is low on funds and has been seeking for donations from the public to ensure he keeps his drive at Manor Race Team this season. The end is nigh for Rio’s F1 career with a list of names being lined up to replacement has already drawn up by this fraudster.
There certainly is a donations page out there. There is even a very patriotic YouTube video which offers instructions on how to donate. But that is where the story should have ended.
So let us break down the story. For those of you who have any knowledge of how F1 works or have just reading the blog the past few months you can look away now. There is no new news here.
In order to race in F1 this season, Rio had to pay 15 million Euros to Manor. Like all business deals which involve large sums of money, it is to be be paid in installments. This gives both parties the right to rescind if they feel the relationship is no longer of benefit to them. The money, of which the first installment has been paid, has came from Rio’s family connections, personal sponsors, Pertamina and other local entrepreneurs. The remaining amount of money will be paid by the Indonesian Government. All the money has been secured and Rio Haryanto has enough money to race the full season for Manor Race Team if they both so wish.
The crowd sourcing idea has came from the government, perhaps sensitive to any sort of political blow back that may come from sponsoring a sportsman to the tune of a few million dollars in area of the world that has high levels of poverty.
There are a few ways of looking at the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Communications and Information (for a communications department, what an awful name) attempts to raise money for Rio. In 2016, crowd sourcing is a perfectly acceptable form of raising money and is done by charities, aspiring musicians and movie makers. Money raised by Kobi Kobayashi fans was placed in a fund which then helped in secure a drive at Caterham in 2014. It is hardly a new initiative in F1. However, we have just had a discussion with a good friend, a Professor of Communications at a UK University who has a special interest in crowd sourcing and to her knowledge this is the first time a government department has gone down this route. Perhaps that is the real story here. They aim to raise / avoid paying 4.2 million Euros.
One way of looking at it is that it is a unique opportunity for fans of F1 to feel directly involved with the progression of their favorite driver. Conversely, you could view it as a government desperately trying to wriggle out of a deal that they never had any intentions of funding but do not want to be seen to be screwing over the nations sporting icon. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which spin you prefer. Regardless of where the 4.2 million Euro’s comes from, we have it on very good authority that the money is secure and will arrive if or when it is needed.
As we stated earlier in the blog, the deal is paid installments for a reason. If either party wants to break the agreement then they are free to do so. Whilst we do know that Rio has the 15 million Euros to give to Manor, that does not mean he will compete in every round of the F1 2016 season. There are several scenario’s where this could happen. This is where we state that this is now us now purely speculating to help make sense of the current deal.
- Rio performs well in the first half of the season and shows he is more than good enough to be in F1. Team X who are known to have financial troubles offer Rio Haryanto a drive for 2017 in a car further up the grid than Manor Race Team. Rio accepts the offer and decides to use his final installment payment to fund next years drive.
- Rio does not perform well and with the prize money for 10th place or above in the Championship worth at least 50 million USD to the team they opt to forego the final payment and opt to gamble and place another driver in the team. Let’s call that other driver Stoffel Vandoorne as I simply cannot see another driver not in F1 at present who would make an immediate impact that would make the gamble worthwhile.
- Rio and Pascal perform to expectations but the team are marooned in 11th place in the Championship through no fault of Pascal or Rio. The team may decided that with the last few races primarily held in North and South America it may make more financial sense to forego Rio’s or Mercedes payment for Pascal to replace one of them with a more marketable driver in that market. Let’s call him Alexander Rossi who just so happens to be the teams reserve driver and performed a similar role last season.
For what it is worth, we do think Rio Haryanto will see out the season for Manor Race Team. Nothing from his performances so far make us think any of the above will be an issue for the team. If there is a swap it might be in scenario 3 but we believe Pascal, who is bringing the considerably less money and whose press release when he was announced, went out of its way not to mention completing the full season, would be the one who sits out.