Rio Haryanto, GP2, 2015

Manor confirms Haryanto as Indonesia’s first F1 driver

2016 F1 season

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Rio Haryanto has taken the final place on the 2016 F1 grid at Manor and will become Indonesia’s first F1 driver when he makes his race debut next month.

Haryanto, who has raced in GP2 for the past four seasons, joins Pascal Wehrlein in an all-rookie pairing at the team. In December last year the Indonesian government revealed it had offered Manor £10 million to place Haryanto in the team.

“Melbourne will be a huge moment for me, my country, supporters and fans,” said Haryanto, who will make his first F1 start in Australia. “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.”

“Rio’s huge following in Indonesia is great for the team and for F1,” said Manor owner Stephen Fitzpatrick. “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.”

More on Rio Haryanto

The 23-year-old finished fourth in the standings last year behind Stoffel Vandoorne, Alexander Rossi and Sergey Sirotkin. He won three times, each victory coming in a sprint race which features a partially-reversed grid.

Like Wehrlein he has less than the 40 F1 superlicence points required by the FIA to compete in F1 but will be eligible for a superlicence as he has previously held one.

Last year Manor began the season with two drivers who had started just one race between them. Haryanto’s confirmation leaves the three drivers who raced for them over the course of last year – Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi and Alexander Rossi – without race seats.

Manor has confirmed Haryanto will race as number 88.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 64 comments on “Manor confirms Haryanto as Indonesia’s first F1 driver”

    1. Putting aside his strong sprint race results, he has achieved just a single podium in four years of GP2.

      It’s clear why he was signed. Manor’s line-up of Haryanto and Wehrlein who hasn’t raced a single seater in three years is pretty disappointing considering how strong the car should be.

      1. He scored five podiums in GP2 last year, three of which were victories. Not saying I think he should necessarily be in F1 on merit over Rossi, he was obviously signed for his backing, but I don’t think he’ll be quite as out of his depth as some think.

        He’s not exactly going to set the midfield alight (for the record I think Wehrlein just might, if Manor’s car is up to it), but I think Haryanto will probably turn out to be a decent second driver, like Chilton was for Bianchi.

        1. Putting aside his strong sprint race results

          4 of those 5 podiums were from a reversed grid.

        2. Let’s see what Pascal wehrlein and Rio Haryanto would achieve in 2016 season then.

      2. Strong “power unit”.

        Thusfar there is NO evidence of a strong chassis.

    2. Yes, finally. As an Indonesian, I’m very exited to see Rio on the starting grid this year.

      1. It’s always nice to see new countries enter the mix!

        Let’s hope he can generate some excitement in Indonesia.

    3. Like Wehrlein he has less than the 40 F1 superlicence points required by the FIA to compete in F1 but will be eligible for a superlicence as he has previously held one.

      Can we all agree now that superlicence points are rubbish? :/

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        18th February 2016, 10:13

        It killed Renault 3.5 so job done really.

        1. @fullcoursecaution @andae23 Yep, it worked perfectly. All that is left to do is rename GP2 “FIA Formula 2” and GP3 something like “FIA Formula 3.5” or “FIA Formula Dallara” and the monopoly will be complete. Hopefully then they can stop handing out points for racing on ovals and weaving between GT cars and stop ruining the prospects of genuinely talented drivers who do not take the preferred route.

      2. @andae23 Wait, we haven’t?

      3. @andae23
        It just shows what a complete farce it is.

      4. @andae23, in which case, could you put forward an alternative proposal instead? The public moaned about the old licencing rules being too lax and allowing drivers that they felt were either too inexperienced (Verstappen) or not good enough (whichever driver of the day they disliked most that day), so those complaints are hardly new.

        1. I’ve heard that Vettel, Raikkonen, Alonso, and Hamilton wouldn’t have gotten into F1 under the new points system. Is that true?

          1. Hamilton won GP2, so it can’t be.

    4. Is it just me or does he look a lot like John Cho and I’m thinking of his American Pie movie appearances (aka Milf Guy #2) ? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cho

      It’ll make me smile anyway when I see him on the driver parade in Melbourne!

    5. Money has to come from somewhere in a small team like Manor. If those resources push Wehrlein ahead, they are more than welcomed!

      1. @fer-no65 Very good point when you put it that way

    6. Disappointed it’s not Rossi, but… could be worse. At least he might spark some extra interest in Indonesia and £10m is probably worth a lot of tenths to Manor.

      1. @neilosjames Considering Bernie’s business model and how half-decent (at least) MotoGP’s doing here, I don’t see that happening too much……

    7. He is probably a marginal improvement on Stevens, but it is a shame not to see Alexander Rossi on the grid next year. Being one of the few drivers (along with Evans, Sirotkin and Lynn) to remotely hold a candle to Vandoorne in race pace in GP2 last year, and having performed impressively at tracks he had never driven before alongside Stevens, I think he deserved a shot in F1 in 2016.

      Then again, was it talent talking for Rossi last year in GP2, or like Haryanto, was he benefiting from a raft of experience? Few would contest that Rio’s numerous podiums and victories for the often mid-grid Campos squad was the result of accumulated experience. Haryanto and Palmer will both make their debut in Melbourne as drivers who have spent four seasons in GP2: hopefully now we can get some answers in debate whether experience in GP2 merely makes drivers better GP2 drivers or better, more rounded racers more broadly.

      1. @william-brierty Don’t know, Haryanto never struck me as being at the same level as Rossi. Rossi has won his first ever race a this level(2011 in FR 3.5) and finished P3 in the standings as a rookie there. That clearly shows he has talent even though he hadn’t managed to win a championship at this level. Haryanto on the other hand is just meh. Maybe a decent sideckick for Wehrein like Chilton to Bianchi but nothing more

        Rossi will feel he deserved that seat, but it’s not how F1 works. I hope he doesn’t waste his time anymore staying in Europe and begins hunting for what Indycar seats are left instead. Otherwise he’ll end up in GT’s or LMP2’s like Calado for example and his talent deserves better than that

        1. @montreal95 That is exactly my point. Rossi has been consistent enough across his five seasons of top flight single-seater racing to entertain the notion that his performances in 2015 were more than the sum total of his experience, whereas that argument cannot be applied to Haryanto. Strangely though, when the two were teammates at Caterham EQ8 in 2013, Rio was markedly the quicker both in pre-season testing and in the early rounds. That said, if I had bet at the start of 2015 where Rio would be spending his 2016 season, I would have said in a Lamborghini Super Trofeo car that shares his title sponsor. It is testament to a mightily impressive (in comparison to his previous seasons) 2015 season that he was even considered a remotely viable option for F1.

          Rossi did deserve that seat, but as you say, that is not how F1 works. Only an F1 reserve role or a genuine chance of ending up in a LMP1 car should retain Rossi’s engagement with European motorsport, because he is one of only a handful of American drivers who has made a noticeable presence in European single seater racing in the past decade, so could potentially be devastatingly competitive across the pond. In that sense I think he will actually be in demand by IndyCar teams: we could yet see him on the IndyCar grid this year. Certainly, he was much more impressive in GP3 than IndyCar latest golden boy, Josef Newgarden, and has infinitely better credentials than Chip Ganassi’s latest signing…

        2. at least rossi had raced for a seat with haryanto, …

      2. hasharyantocrashedtoday?

    8. This is bad.

      1. Fact:
        As teammate in GP2 2014 (EQ8 Caterham Racing), with the same engineer, same car, same team..
        Rio beat Rossi..jajajajajaj Lol..

        1. At least Rossi won an actual feature race in his rookie season. No, drop that last part: at least Rossi won an actual feature race (and more than one) during his GP2 stint. And finished in the top 10 in the standings in his rookie season. And …

          “jajajajaja”.

    9. @william-brierty well, I can’t agree with you in that he deserved a place in F1. A driver that needs four seasons to break into the top-10 in GP2, that needs four seasons to score even one feature race podium (also his only one!), and to win a few sprint races, is not a driver that should be in F1.
      Actually, if it were up to me a driver wouldn’t even get to drive four full seasons in GP2. Because that probably contributes to GP2’s biggest issue of the moment.

      But money talks, and so he is there. At least the upside is that Manor will benefit from it. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

      1. @mattds Where do I say that he deserves his place? Yes, I think he has the potential long-term to be a marginal improvement on Will Stevens, who only really has hand a handful of inherited wins in FR3.5 to embellish his CV, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t rather see Vandoorne, Ocon, Lynn, Rowland, Gasly, Marciello, etc. in the seat.

        In terms of the thoroughly interesting debate over prolonged careers in GP2, I agree with you. I think Valsecchi and Leimer were rightfully blanked by F1, and if it were up to me, Palmer (who, on the basis of the better quality of opposition he faced in 2014, is probably considerably better than Valsecchi and Leimer) would have been replaced by JEV during Ghosn’s reshuffle of the team.

        Will Buxton, the former GP2 press officer and commentator, argues that protracted stays in GP2 produces more mature, rounded drivers. Of course there are a number of obvious critiques of that thesis. Firstly, that such a model penalizes the faster developers and those with more natural talent. Secondly, that a protracted GP2 career doesn’t teach drivers how to be more adaptable, but rather how to be a better GP2 driver. Theoretically, in his rookie F1 season we could see Palmer at the same abysmal level that he was performing in his rookie GP2 season in 2011. Of course there is some overlap between skills learnt behind the wheel of a GP2 and the skills F1 requires, particularly so since 2014 with the reduction in downforce and the increase in torque, but logic would still dictate that those who achieved a steeper learning curve in the junior series would have a steeper learning curve in F1.

        Being a fast learner and an adaptable, dynamic driver are the building blocks of an F1 career, which is why nobody should take Palmer’s GP2 title at face value without first comparing his rookie season with, for instance, Vandoorne’s.

        1. @william-brierty

          Where do I say that he deserves his place?

          I’m sorry. You were talking about Rossi and I completely misread it.

          I completely agree with the whole of your post, and about Palmer. While there is certainly merit to winning a GP2 title, and that absolutely qualifies a person as a good to great single seater driver, it doesn’t equal being one of the very best that should qualify for F1. Feeder series have always been about being naturally fast and adapting fast, and GP2 is failing in that.

          The one possible upshot I see is that maybe it allows us to recognize those that are truly exceptional. Like Vandoorne, who has entered GP2 by storm and has broken all records over the course of two years. Even though GP2 is largely experience-based nowadays, he has pulled it off, and that has probable reinforced the image we have of him even more.

          1. @mattds I really like that final point. The importance of experience in GP2 doesn’t mean that it is an inherently malfunctioning series, but rather one that cannot be taken at face value.

            For example, few would contest that Mitch Evans is a thoroughly talented driver, however whilst Mitch was ranked 14th in his rookie season in GP2, Vandoorne was 2nd. As you say the knowledge that experience is vital marks out the exceptional from the ordinary. Stoffel is extraordinary, cut from the same cloth as Hamilton or Verstappen, and it is knowing that experience is so important in GP2 that makes McLaren’s stoic advocation of Jenson Button all the more absurd. If any team ought to understand the value of a rookie superstar it is McLaren. Vandoorne’s rejection is for me among the five worst stories of 2015, since without the best talent there is no F1.

            1. @william-brierty great post. Fully agree, nothing to add.

            2. @mattds Nice discussion!

    10. Leaving aside Stevens’ single start for Caterham in 2014, this is Manor/Marussia’s third all-rookie driver line-up in four years.

      1. Unrelated but … is it the first time we see the number 88 on a F1 car?

        The number has quite a controversial meaning according to some (88 = HH = Heil Hitler).

        1. Nope. 8 always lucky number for asian especially for chinese decent.
          So 88 mean double lucky here.

        2. I am sure kids these days do not think of 88 as contraversial.

        3. What can I say.. we never hate HH like you do.

    11. Not sure if Vandoorne would want the Manor seat (I imagine he would cause as Bianchi showed, it is still a chance to show talent to the bigger teams) but the fact that Haryanto has a seat in F1 and he doesn’t is exactly the problem with the cost of F1. I know pay drivers have always been a factor in F1 but if the costs weren’t so bad then Vandoorne (and many others with more talent than financial backing) would stand a better chance.

      1. @tonyyeb

        Not sure if Vandoorne would want the Manor seat

        Pretty sure he would. He said so before but Haryanto, Rossi and Mercedes have put lots of money to have it.

        1. Vandoorne deserve better than Manor! Renault already offer him to replace Maldonado, but McLaren block the offer. It’s clear that McLaren has bigger plan for him.

    12. All those moaning clearly haven’t been watching F1 long enough to remember Ricardo Rossett……

      1. And most of them don’t remember that back in ’98, the new management at Tyrrell who took over after Ken stepped down had a chance to release Rosset and bring in their test driver, Tom Kristensen. They kept Rosset for the whole season and he didn’t fare any better.

        So this isn’t the most cynical move for money that an F1 team has made, let alone a true tail-end-of-the-grid operation like Manor. And Haryanto’s won races at every level he’s raced in, and seems like a nice enough dude. But if their aspirations are to make a serious move up the grid next year, I can’t help but feel like a few years down the road, we’ll be saying along the same lines “Yeah, Manor could have kept Alexander Rossi, but they opted to go with Rio Haryanto.”

      2. I see your Rosset and raise you Jean-Denis Deletraz.

        1. Two-time Le Mans class champion, Jean-Denis Deletraz.

          1. @rjoconnell, I wouldn’t say that Deletraz’s class wins at Le Mans cast him in a much better light. In 2001 his team were the only one of the seven entrants in his class to actually last the full 24 Hours, whilst in 2002 only two of the seven entrants made it to the end: those wins were kind of more by default than on pure ability.

            In some instances, Deletraz didn’t even seem to have any conscious recognition of what he was doing on track. There was the famous incident where, on a completely clear section of the track in the middle of a race, he started randomly swerving across the track, leading Murray Walker to ask “What is Deletraz doing?”. The thing is, even Deletraz himself couldn’t ever explain what he was doing in the first place…

    13. At least Manor will have a few sponsor logos on their car next season.

    14. Rio Haryanto will race as number 88. Double luck to him.

      1. More like two fat ladies.

    15. I’m not trying to defend Haryanto in this matter, but let’s take our opinion at Manor’s perspective. Formula 1 is always about sport and business. Like a coin, there is always two side in each of them. So what’s Manor business with Haryanto, anyway? Well, as far as I know, with Euro zone is in deep economy crisis and North America is not even better, Asia is big & lucrative market for F1. Did we see any Asian driver in F1 recently? nope. So, how we could attract new viewers from Asia (South East Asia, for instance)? Easiest answer, is to put any Asian driver on the cockpit. But why choose Haryanto, instead of other driver? First, he is Asian, second, he has the budget, and third, he has decent achievement (no need to be flashy, but OK!). Manor knew that Haryanto meets this specification, and would be perfect (for business) if they named him for their driver. In time, if Haryanto finally could prove himself worthy, It’s a great bonus for Manor reputation.

      1. Apart from religious sentiment, but potentially he can attract more of Muslim viewer in rich country, thats means business for F1.

    16. He has money and I believe he’ll do better than Stevens ever did. Good luck to Manor, we’ll see if their car is up to fighting the second-last team this year.

    17. we all know he didn’t get that seat on merit. money talks. it’s a damn shame.

      but does anyone remember luis razia? wasn’t he confirmed to drive for marussia in 2013 and then the deal fell through? then they signed bianchi, who turned out to become the only driver to score points for this exact team. here’s to hoping that can happen again and rossi is called.

      1. Is all about the money? Haryanto didn’t qualify enough for Manor? Is that you’re trying to say? I think Manor isn’t that stupid. Sure, Formula 1 is very expensive sport, but not everything always about money.
        See, I always have soft spot for rookie F1 drivers, even for Maldonado at his early day with Williams.
        Same case with Haryanto now, I think it isn’t fair to judge person before he has chance to prove himself.

    18. So with Haryanto completing the line-up, in my opinion we only really have 3 pay-drivers (with Ericsson and Guttierez). That’s not too bad and I don’t think any of these are of the Ricardo Rosset school, but more towards the Pedro Diniz end of the pay-driver talent pool. With a couple of series winning rookies as well, I’m quite impressed with this year’s line-up.

    19. Keith, you’ve made a mistake in your headline as Haryanto is not “Indonesia’s first F1 driver” – you’ve forgotten about Alex Yoong, who drove for Minardi in 2001 and 2002.

      1. Alex Yoong is Malaysian not Indonesian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Yoong

        1. @jarred-walmsley, I stand corrected – I guess that, as Yoong has business interests in Indonesia, over time I had come to associate him with Indonesia and therefore mistakenly thought of him as Indonesian.

      2. Yoong is Malyasian, not Indonesian..

        1. Ooops. Pipped! But only by a gnats c*ck…

    20. If we give both Rossi and Haryanto a ‘write-off’, of their two poor seasons each in backmarker teams (FR3.5/GP2 and GP2/GP2), their records are actually quite similar IMO, with Haryanto one year younger than Rossi.

      Rio would also have beaten Rossi in 2010, if not for the GP3 sprint races. But you could equally say that 09/10 was Rossi’s yips period/transition to more powerful cars, with Rio’s being 2013/14.

      Ideally, Rossi would get a full season and Haryanto a year to contend for the GP2 title. But as both have had two ‘write-off’ years, that ship has sailed. Ironically, one of those years was both of them at Caterham GP2, with Rossi getting an FP1.

    21. Eventually there is Indonesian who will drive an F1 car.

      Interesting to see how it is going to be.
      He will surprise us, trust me.

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