Early Thursday morning, Manor Motorsport confirmed that Ryo Haryanto will occupy the second seat, alongside the already confirmed Pascal Wehrlein.
While a number of names have been rumoured to be in contention, the front runner thought to have been Alexander Rossi until recently, the selection of Haryanto is no surprise. The 23 year old Indonesian racing driver, who has been competing in single seater racing since 2008, and in GP2 since 2012, is no stranger to Formula 1, having taken part in multiple young driver tests through 2010 and 2012.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Manor Racing’s owner is optimistic about the 2016 season now that they have completed their driver lineup, saying: “We are delighted to announce Rio as our second race driver for 2016. Rio’s been racing since he first got into a kart at six years old.
“Rio’s huge following in Indonesia is great for the team and for F1. 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 had varied success in open wheel racing, and after winning the Formula BMW Pacific championship in 2009, he has struggled somewhat in the GP3 & GP2 series. 2015 was his strongest season yet, taking 3 victories and a string of podiums taking him to a very solid 4th place in the championship. Nonetheless, Haryanto is positive about his F1 prospects, saying: “Melbourne will be a huge moment for me, my country, supporters and fans and I want to thank everyone who’s been with me since I started in single seaters; 2016 is my chance to reward that faith and represent Asia in F1.”
Manor had a disappointing 2015 season, however 2016 sees the team partner with Mercedes-Benz for powertrains and Williams Advanced Engineering for gearboxes, which means that the team are going to be going into the new season aiming to take on the mid-field.