Manor signs Rio Haryanto to second F1 seat

© GP2 Series

Rio Haryanto will make his Formula 1 debut this year after being announced as Manor Racing’s second driver for the 2016 season.

Haryanto, 23, has raced in GP2 for the past four seasons, claiming three race wins in 2015 en route to fourth place in the final drivers’ standings.

Haryanto has enjoyed ties with the Manor operation dating back to 2010, but will now race for its F1 team after securing the financial backing required from the Indonesian government.

“Manor Racing is a team with an exciting vision and ambitious plans. They have produced a great package and I can’t wait to get in the car,” Haryanto said.

“Melbourne will be a huge moment for me, my country, supporters and fans and I want to thank everyone who’s been with me since I started in single seaters; 2016 is my chance to reward that faith and represent Asia in F1.”

Manor team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick was impressed by Haryanto’s efforts in GP2 last year, and feels that he will be able to carry this form over to F1 in 2016 when racing alongside fellow rookie Pascal Wehrlein.

“We are delighted to announce Rio as our second race driver for 2016,” Fitzpatrick said.

“He’s tenacious on and off the track and made a big impression on last year’s GP2 battle. Rio’s huge following in Indonesia is great for the team and for F1.

“They are keen to see him on the grid and we’re confident that we’ll see him enjoying some exciting battles in the year ahead.”

Haryanto’s confirmation completes the grid for the 2016 F1 season, four days before the beginning of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

It also leaves American driver Alexander Rossi out in the cold for the new season. Rossi made a significant impression in his first five races with Manor last year and was confident of staying, but is now without a drive.

The same is true of Britain’s Will Stevens, who raced throughout 2015 for Manor. However, he has been linked with a reserve role at Williams.