23 year old GP2 graduate to Race in 2016
Manor Racing has chosen Rio Haryanto for its second race seat for 2016, probably ending the F1 career of resident “cheeky chappie” Will Stevens. He will make his debut at the 1st 2016 Barcelona test next week driving Manor’s all-new MRT05 with the Mercedes engine and Williams gearbox. This also puts a temporary hold on Alexander Rossi’s bid for a regular F1 seat as he had been in the frame to get the drive at various points of the off-season, but as he comes with Ferrari backing, it was always going to be a stretch to see him in a Mercedes powered team. This also makes Manor the only team on the grid for this year without a driver that’s raced previously in F1, although it didn’t do Toro Rosso any harm last year!
Haryanto has been racing single seaters since 2008 and has been in GP2 since 2012 driving for notable teams such as Carlin and DAMS along with Campos Racing last season (better known to F1 fans as the team behind Hispania/HRT)
What to expect from Haryanto this season
Of course Haryanto is naturally happy to be taking part this season as he thinks that “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” and it will be a huge improvement on 2015 if Manor can start the 1st race in Australia after they turned up last season with a car that wasn’t ready and then only managed to run Roberto Merhi’s car in Malaysia.
With this new line-up and predictions from Mercedes’ chief Toto Wolff that Manor will be fighting for points this season rather than hanging onto the back some 4 seconds a lap down, this looks like it could be an interesting season for the Banbury based team (no longer working out of a shed in Sheffield!) and we’ll be following them all the way on our podcasts and live race blogs!