F1’s Indonesian driver, Rio Haryanto, could still yet drive at this weekend’s German Grand Prix , even though his funding from ‘sponsors’ has failed to materialise.
Rio, who has a contract to race for Manor F1 for the whole season, has delivered funding only to race up and including last week’s Hungarian GP.
Piers Hunnisett, Haryanto’s manager, is hopeful the team will allow Rio to compete in 3 days at the German GP, to allow time over the summer break for him to resolve the issue of the missing cash.
“I would hope that’s the case,” Hunnisett told Autosport. “Yeah, in my mind that would be a logical plan given the three-week break that follows.
Manors Racing Director Dave Ryan has expressed a preference for Rio to remain in the car, though the ultimate decision rests with team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick.
“Ultimately it comes down to funding”, says Ryan, “and I’m one step away from where we actually are on that, but let’s just wait and see.”
McLaren are actively trying to get Stoffel Vandoorn an F1 drive at present, presumably to avoid another ‘Jenson hanging on’ scenario in a couple of months.
Ryan acknowledged the speculation that McLaren have approached Manor over this.
“Stoffel is undoubtedly a brilliant young driver, and he has a great track record,” added Ryan, “But we are working with Rio, and we want Rio in the car going forward.”
With a view to avoiding ‘breach of contract’ accusations, Ryan pretty much has to say this. However, when F1 pay drivers run into funding difficulties, it rarely ends positively.
If Hunnisett fails to deliver the promised funding, then Vandoorne could make his debut for Manor F1 at his home GP in Spa Francorchamps.
And whilst Vandoorne may hope for a more competitive start to his F1 career, he should reflect that something is better than nothing. And could it be Big Ron is at last be showing some loyalty to Jenson, in return for the British driver’s positivity and commitment to the cause throughout the dismal days of the renewed Mac-Honda relationship?