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

© GP2 Series

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.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”