© GP2 Series

Rio Haryanto facing ‘critical week’ in push for Manor F1 seat

Leave a comment

Rio Haryanto’s hopes of joining Manor Racing for the 2016 Formula 1 season largely hinge on the next week as he looks to accumulate the required backing to secure a seat with the British team.

Haryanto, 23, has spent the last four years racing in GP2, claiming three race wins en route to fourth place in the final standings in 2015.

The Indonesian driver has previously tested F1 cars with both Caterham and Manor, enjoying ties with the latter for the past five years.

A leaked letter confirmed that Haryanto was in the running for a seat at Manor relying he could secure $16 million in backing.

Haryanto is being supported in his drive by the Indonesian government, but remains short of his target ahead of what Youth and Sports Ministry spokesman Gatot S. Dewa Broto said was a “critical” week in deciding his future.

“This week will be a critical time for Rio in entering F1,” Gatot told The Jakarta Post.

“We’ve done our best. We’ll all see how it ends.”

Haryanto’s mother, Indah Pennywati, thanked the government for its support of her son and said that she expects a decision from Manor in the next week.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the government — Pertamina and State-Owned Enterprises [Ministry] — which has been very supportive of Rio reaching F1,” she said.

“We are looking forward to good news from Manor Racing regarding Rio’s participation in the event by next week.”

Both seats at the recently-rebranded Manor team remain up for grabs, with American driver Alexander Rossi, DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein and British racer Will Stevens also in the running.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
Chris Owens/IndyCar
Leave a comment

James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”