Rio Haryanto’s hopes of being on the Formula 1 grid in 2017 have been dealt a fresh blow after losing financial backing from his primary sponsor, Pertamina.
Haryanto made his F1 debut in Australia last March, and continued with the Manor team through the rest of the summer until the German Grand Prix.
The first Indonesian driver in F1 history was unable to gather enough funding to make it through the rest of the season, his place instead taken by Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon as he stepped up to a full-time drive starting at Spa in August. Pertamina, the Indonesian state-owned energy company, also announced its withdrawal from Manor shortly thereafter.
Pertamina has now doubled down on its withdrawals, announcing in a statement on Tuesday it wouldn’t continue with Haryanto into 2017 despite making the “maximal effort” to get Haryanto back into a seat.
“This year there will not be a continuation of participation by Pertamina in F1,” spokeswoman Wianda Pusponegoro said in the statement, via Reuters.
Haryanto’s only hope for an F1 seat this year appears to be an encore at Manor anyway, with Sauber looking poised to recruit Manor’s other 2016 driver, Pascal Wehrlein, as the likely replacement for Felipe Nasr.
Alexander Rossi bobbled for the first time in 2018 with an 11th-place finish in the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
And to add insult to injury, Rossi also lost the points lead as a result.
Rossi got off to about as great a start to the season as possible. He finished third at St. Petersburg and sat third in the standings. He finished third again at Phoenix and climbed to second in the points.
Rossi won the Long Beach Grand Prix after starting from the pole and leading 71 laps. That put him at the top of the standings after three races.
Then, as quickly as he climbed to the top, he got knocked down a spot after finishing off the podium for the first time in 2018.
Rossi not only missed the podium, he finished outside the top 10.
“We didn’t get the result that we wanted,” Rossi said after the race. “That remains a mystery. But at the end of the day it was about survival. We couldn’t make the tires last; we couldn’t really get a great fuel number.”
The biggest negative was the one factor that was mostly out of his control. Rossi gambled that he was facing only a brief shower when rain began to fall with about 15 minutes remaining. He was wrong.
“We tried to be pretty aggressive on the dry tires and stay out and survive the rain, hoping it would dry out,” Rossi said. “And it didn’t really work.
“Sometimes you’ll have those days.”