Rio Haryanto loses Manor Formula 1 race seat, Ocon to debut in Belgium

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Rio Haryanto has lost his Formula 1 race seat with Manor Racing after the Indonesian was unable to meet his contractual obligations due to a shortfall in funding.

Haryanto made his F1 debut with Manor at the beginning of the year after spending four years in GP2, enjoying significant financial backing from the Indonsian government and state-owned oil company Pertamina.

Haryanto’s backing was only enough to get him to the German Grand Prix, with his management facing a race over the summer to get a deal together that would keep him in the car until the end of the season.

On Wednesday, Manor confirmed that Haryanto’s race driver contract had been terminated, but that he has been offered a reserve role for the remainder of the season.

“Rio has been a much-valued member of our team since January, when we signed a contract with him for this season,” Manor racing director Dave Ryan said.

“Some time ago, his management indicated that they were experiencing difficulties honouring the obligations of that contract beyond the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“Rio’s team have worked tirelessly to try to resolve that situation with his Indonesian backers and we have supported those efforts as much as possible, including allowing Rio to race in Germany.

“Unfortunately we reached a point where, in the best interests of the team, we were forced to explore other options for the remainder of the season.

“We are very pleased to continue our support for Rio’s Formula 1 ambitions, by offering him a reserve driver role for the rest of the current season. We very much hope that he will accept that offer.”

Manor confirmed shortly after announcing Haryanto’s departure that Esteban Ocon would be taking his seat for the remainder of the season.

Ocon won the FIA European F3 title in 2014 and the GP3 Series last year, securing himself roles with Mercedes and Renault for 2016 in the process.

After a handful of FP1 run-outs with Renault this year, the Frenchman will now make his F1 debut in Belgium with Manor, teaming up with fellow Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein.

“I’m thrilled that I’ll be making my grand prix debut with Manor Racing later this month, and at Spa, of all circuits, which is the next best thing to my home race,” Ocon said.

“I’m ready for this exciting step up, thanks to the experience I’ve gained as a Formula 1 reserve driver this season. I’d like to thank Renault Sport F1 Team and Mercedes-Benz for working together to make this happen, and to Manor Racing for the opportunity, which I’m going to grab with both hands.

“I’ve visited the Manor Technical Centre already, for my seat fit and to meet with the wider team, so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running after the summer break.

“They’ve done a great job this season and I’m excited that I’ve been tasked with helping them to build on that progress. I can’t wait to get started!”