Manor Racing announced on February 18 that the last seat available in Formula One will be taken by 23 year old GP2 race winner, Rio Haryanto. Manor will have an all rookie line up in 2016, with Haryanto racing along side Mercedes gun, Pascal Werhlein. Both have had F1 experiences in previous test sessions. Haryanto will be the first Indonesian driver to compete in F1.
Haryanto spent 2015 competing in Formula One’s feeder series, GP2, where he finished fourth in the championship. He took three wins in the season at Bahrain, Austria and Silverstone. He outclassed his team mate Arthur Pic all season, who could only manage a mediocre 11th in the championship.
Haryanto commented on his signing, saying: “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. 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 competed in 2015 after taking over the Marussia F1 team when they went into administration late in 2014. They had a lackluster debut season, never proving competitive. With a switch to Mercedes power in 2016 and “a young and hungry driver line up” Manor’s fortunes could change.
Rio Haryanto and Pascal Werhlein will be behind the wheel of Manor’s 2016 challenger, the MRT05, at the first pre-season test in Barcelona on February 22.