Manor Racing have confirmed today they have offered Rio Haryanto a demotion to ‘Reserve Driver’ status for the rest of the 2016 season.
The Indonesian has been rumoured to have had a shortfall in funding to complete the season for a while, with the turning point coming at the Hungarian Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago. With a short turnaround between Hungary and Germany he retained the seat, but today brings confirmation that he won’t be seeing out the season in a race role.
Manor’s Racing Director Dave Ryan said in a statement, “Rio has been a much-valued member of our team since January, when we signed a contract with him for this season. 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.”
The Indonesian has pushed highly fancied teammate Pascal Wehrlein at times this season, many surprised at his pace against the Mercedes backed driver.
It is expected fellow Mercedes backed and Renault test driver Esteban Ocon will take the second seat at the team.