© GP2 Series

Manor signs Rio Haryanto to second F1 seat

3 Comments

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.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

HUSTLING HELIO: Castroneves hunting for 2021 rides in IMSA, IndyCar

Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.