Indonesia will have its first F1 driver after Rio Haryanto was officially confirmed as the Manor Racing team’s second driver for the 2016 Formula 1 season. The 23-year-old will partner fellow rookie Pascal Wehrlein in the team’s new Mercedes-powered MRT05 racer.
“Rio’s been racing since he first got into a kart at six years old. He’s tenacious on and off the track and made a big impression on last year’s GP2 battle,” Manor Racing owner Stephen Fitzpatrick said.
“Rio’s huge following in Indonesia is great for the team and for Formula 1. They are keen to see him on the grid and we’re confident that we’ll see him enjoying some exciting battles in the year ahead.”
Haryanto has secured the seat – beating out fellow contenders Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi – thanks in no small part to his substantial backing by the Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas corporation Pertamina, with an additional top-up from the Indonesian government as well.
The offer was enough to see him secure the seat ahead of Rossi, against whom he was engaged in an effective bidding war for the final spot on the 2016 grid.
His single-seater career began at the age of fifteen and he dominated the Formula BMW Pacific championship a year later to win the title. By 2010 he had moved to Europe and joined the F1 feeder GP3 Series category, starting what has since been a lengthy association with the Manor Racing stable. He claimed wins over two seasons with the team, and earned himself a reputation as a wet-weather specialist.
He graduated to the GP2 Series in 2012, but finished fourteenth overall in a disappointing debut season that saw a pole position at Spa-Francorchamps (again in wet conditions) as the only real highlight. Subsequent seasons with the Barwa Addax and EQ8 Caterham Racing squads yielded just one podium apiece and little to suggest he was truly a future Formula 1 driver.
His fourth season in the GP2 Series finally brought some promising results as he claimed three wins, all in the shorter-format Sprint Races where the starting grid is partially reversed. He finished fourth overall in the standings, albeit well behind runaway champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Haryanto has, however, had plenty of Formula 1 mileage over recent years – all of it with the Manor stable under a number of its previous guises. His first outing came in 2010 at the age of 17 in the end-of-year Young Drivers’ test, while further hit-outs came at the 2012 Young Drivers’ test at Silverstone and last year’s end-of-season Pirelli test session at Abu Dhabi.
|WHO IS RIO HARYANTO?|
|Full Name||Rio Haryanto|
|Born||22 January 1993, Surakarta (IDN)|
|2008||Formula Asia 2.0, Asia Racing Team, 13 races, 1 win, 7 podiums, 3rd overall|
|2009||Formula BMW Pacific, Questnet Team Qi-Meritus, 15 races, 11 wins, 12 podiums, 1st overall|
|2010||GP3 Series, Manor Racing, 16 races, 1 win, 3 podiums, 5th overall
Formula 1, Marussia Virgin Racing, Test Driver
|2011||GP3 Series, Manor Racing, 16 races, 2 wins, 4 podiums, 7th overall
Auto GP, DAMS, 14 races, 1 win, 3 podiums, 7th overall
|2012||GP2 Series, Marussia Carlin GP2 Team, 24 races, 14th overall|
|2013||GP2 Series, Barwa Addax Team, 22 races, 1 podium, 19th overall|
|2014||GP2 Series, EQ8 Caterham Racing, 22 races, 1 podium, 15th overall|
|2015||GP2 Series, Campos Racing, 22 races, 3 wins, 5 podiums, 4th overall|
|2016||Formula 1, Manor Racing Mercedes MRT05|
Image via GP2 Series Media