Manor racing’s Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto may well be without an F1 drive after this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Rio is still awaiting official confirmation whether he will still be required to drive for Manor F1. His original contract only covered Haryanto up to and including the Hungarian GP, so the 23 year old has been frantically trying to find further funds to secure his future. A decision will need to be made sharpish as the F1 circus rolls on to Germany right after Sunday’s chequered flag falls.
Yet Rio appears relaxed about the whole situation though: “We will see,” he commented about the contract conundrum. “I think if you see me in Hockenheim then I think you will see me all season.”
When asked about Germany, Haryanto said: “I think so.”
Then again, ‘I think not’, would hardly be what we expect from him at this stage.
Prior to the start of the season, many expected Haryanto to be blown away by team mate and Mercedes backed hotshot, Pascal Wehrlein. But Rio has performed better than expected, raising his stock dramatically, especially in qualifying.
“Qualifying has been a good battle,” he explained. “But there are still areas where I need to work, especially in the race.
“It is not easy with the blue flag situations and we often have a different strategy. One will start on the softer tyres and one on the harder tyres, because we want the best for the team and we want to fight with other cars.
“But I am pleased with the progress I have made since the first day in the car and now I am much more competitive.”
Rio and Pascal are locked at 5-5 in head to head qualifying this year. But if F1’s first Indonesian driver wants to make the grid in 2017, he must improve his race pace against the German, if given the rest of the season.
Should Haryanto be ditched for Hockenheim, then the question will be ‘who will replace him’?
Rumours this weekend in the paddock suggest Jordan King, Manor’s development driver, is in the frame. After all, Daddy has enough cash. Jordan is the son of Justin King – a supergarch executive – who was instrumental in helping the team overcome the Marussia sudden withdrawal of funds.
King, the younger, is currently on a roll on GP2 where he has won back 2 back sprint races, and currently sits in 7th position in the championship 15 points adrift of the top.
So, is the Manor F1 seat ‘fit’ or being fitted ‘for a King?’
Maybe, but some are saying a certain Pastor M will appear – brandishing a large cheque.