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Haryanto accepts Manor F1 reserve role for rest of 2016

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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.”

Haryanto’s appointment as reserve driver appears to shuffle Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi down the pecking order at Manor, the American having been the team’s denoted back-up since the start of the season.

Rossi was offered Haryanto’s race seat for the remainder of the season, but turned it down in order to focus on his commitments in IndyCar with Andretti/Bryan Herta Autosport.

With Haryanto now on hand to replace either Ocon or Pascal Wehrlein should they be unable to race, Rossi now looks even more unlikely to add to his haul of five grand prix starts in 2016.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

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.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

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.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).