Rio Haryanto may have only just only been out of F1 for one race but it already seems there may be a route back into F1 grid for the likeable Indonesian.
The 2016 Belgium Grand Prix was red flagged after a horrific looking crash by Renault driver Kevin Magnussen. Early reports from the circuit say that although Magnussen was conscious and responsive, he did leave the circuit in an ambulance and was taken to a local hospital for further checks.
Needless to say we wish the Danish driver a speedy recovery and want to see him back behind the wheel very soon. However, the Italian Grand Prix taking place next weekend, it very well could transpire it comes too soon for a recovering K-Mag.
He appeared to be walking with a heavy limp when exiting the car and the G-Force impact of the crash may automatically rule him out of Monza. Fernando Alonso missed the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this season after his crash in Melbourne after FIA medical officials deemed it a high risk to his health if he was to sustain a second impact soon after the initial incident.
So at this early stage it appears that Renault will require a new driver for Monza. Having only recently allowed their 3rd driver Esteban Ocon move to Manor for the remainder of the season we can only presume that Esteban may be getting a call from Enstone at some point this week.
Renault have a number of young drivers on their books, namely Sergey Sirotkin and Oliver Rowland. Both very competent junior formula racers and Sirotkin may also come with a budget. On the subject of who would be their new number 3 driver once Ocon departed Renault had previously indicted that they would rely on one of their young drivers. However, we are sure they implying for participating in FP1 and not a full race seat.
Both young drivers currently do not possess a super licence, although exceptions have been given out before and we are sure an exception could be given out to Sirotkin who has tested for Sauber and is having another strong GP2 season.
It’s purely hypothetical all the moment but we have form when it comes to Ocon at the moment and will stick our neck out and say if Renault do need a replacement for Magnussen then Ocon will be back in a Renault for Monza. They have publicly stated he is in consideration for a race seat with them for 2017 and now is there real chance to properly evaluate him.
Ocon had a steady race weekend in his first F1 race for Manor and completed the full race distance. There won’t be many other ready made replacements available unless McLaren are willing to lease out Stoffel Vandoorne.
All of this is very good news Rio Haryanto who opted to remain with the team as a reserve driver after being dropped due to failing to meet his financial obligations. The team would be reluctant to look elsewhere, particularly at short notice and would risk running a 4th driver (the maximum allowed per season) at this early stage of the season, which would be a financially risk strategy. Any further movements with Ocon or Wehrlein would see Haryanto complete the rest of the season for free.