Rio Haryanto has conceded that he is not certain of finishing the current Formula 1 season with Manor due to a shortfall in funding.
Haryanto became Indonesia’s first F1 driver when he made his debut in Australia with Manor, having been announced in its second seat over the winter.
The ex-GP2 driver enjoys significant backing from the Indonesian government, but recently launched a fan campaign to raise more funds for his racing.
Speaking in Monaco ahead of this weekend’s race, Haryanto admitted that he is not sure that he will finish the season with Manor, although he remains hopeful of sticking around.
“I hope that I can be here in my position for the full season,” Haryanto said.
“There are rumors that I can only do half of the season, but my management are working really hard to get the full season.
“My main goal is to focus on the job each race to do my best and we’ll see what happens. I’ve been hearing the rumors and, to be honest, I don’t know beyond that. I don’t know, it’s all kept on the Indonesian government side.”
Haryanto is refusing to dwell on the speculation, instead focusing on doing the best job possible for Manor.
“It’s important to leave that aside and just do my best, drive the car as quickly as possible, to work with the team,” Haryanto said.
“There’s the possibility of a lot more to come and to be able to compete with Pascal [Wehrlein], he’s a good reference. I’ll just keep it up.”
Speaking to Reuters, Haryanto’s manager confirmed that his current funding ensures he’s racing until the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of July.
“The sponsorship is all paid for up until the 11th race,” Piers Hunnisett said.
“No problem there. That’s fully paid. It’s just the process in Indonesia with the government.
“I think in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully before Canada, we’ll get something confirmed.”
Should Haryanto lose his seat, it could pave the way for American driver Alexander Rossi to return to F1 in a full-time role.
Rossi raced in five grands prix at the end of 2015 before losing his seat and stepping down into a reserve role with Manor that he balances with a full-time drive in IndyCar.
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.