Rio Haryanto has accepted Manor’s offer of a reserve role for the remainder of the 2016 Formula 1 season after losing his race seat.
Manor announced on Wednesday that Haryanto had been dropped after failing to fulfil his contractual obligations due to a shortfall in funding.
Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon will make his F1 debut in Belgium with Manor.
Haryanto was offered a reserve role by Manor for the remainder of the season, which the team confirmed on Thursday had been accepted.
“Manor Racing is pleased to announce that Rio Haryanto will remain with the team for the rest of the season, having accepted its offer of a reserve driver role,” a statement from Manor read.
“Rio will be available to deputise should either race driver be unable to take part in an event. He will also be immersed in engineering meetings and PR activities, as the team continues its support for his racing ambitions.”
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.