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Hopeful Rio Haryanto awaits F1 final call

  • Niken Prathivi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, January 28 2016 | 09:20 am
Hopeful Rio Haryanto awaits F1 final call Dream chaser: Indonesian racer Rio Haryanto poses before providing an update on his plans to join Formula One Grand Prix through UK-based Manor racing team at the Youth and Sports Ministry in Jakarta on Wednesday.(JP/Don)(JP/Don)

Dream chaser: Indonesian racer Rio Haryanto poses before providing an update on his plans to join Formula One Grand Prix through UK-based Manor racing team at the Youth and Sports Ministry in Jakarta on Wednesday.(JP/Don)

Indonesian racer Rio Haryanto has one week left pending the final call in his bid to enter this year'€™s Formula One ( F1 ) Grand Prix.

'€œI really hope for the best that my dream will come true,'€ Rio told a press conference at the Youth and Sports Ministry building in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old is looking at UK-based Manor Grand Prix Racing team as his possible access to take part in F1.

The team has requested that he bring in ¤15 million (US$ 16.35 million) worth of sponsorship to secure a 2016-season seat, if they agree to let him become a driver for Manor.

So far, Rio has only pocketed financial-support commitments worth '‚¬5.2 million from state oil company Pertamina and Rp 100 billion ($7.2 million) from the Youth and Sports Ministry funding via the Indonesian Sports Council (KONI).

 '€œWe would like to express our gratitude to the government '€” Pertamina and State-Owned Enterprises [Ministry] '€” which has been very supportive of Rio reaching F1,'€ said Indah Pennywati, Rio'€™s mother.

'€œWe are looking forward to good news from Manor Racing regarding Rio'€™s participation in the event by next week,'€ added Indah, who is marketing director for Rio'€™s management PT Kiky Sports.

Youth and Sports Ministry spokesman Gatot S. Dewa Broto said that Rio would need to deliver ¤3 million to Manor as a down payment to show his seriousness in taking part in F1. The remainder could be transferred gradually, he added.

'€œTherefore, this week will be a critical time for Rio in entering F1,'€ said Gatot, admitting that any possible outcome might occur, including the possibility that Manor would choose another driver instead of Rio, within the week.

'€œWe'€™ve done our best [to support Rio]. We'€™ll all see how it ends,'€ he added.

Besides Rio, there are five other aspiring drivers eager to join the competition, according to crash.net. They are Will Stevens of the UK, Spain'€™s Roberto Merhi, American Alexander Rossi, Dane Kevin Magnussen and Germany'€™s Pascal Wehrlein.

Rio has been linked with Manor since the team was known as Virgin Racing. He received a F1 test at the end of 2010 after finishing fifth in the GP3 Series, before enjoying two further test days with Marussia in 2012.

Rio has spent the last four years racing in the GP2 Series. In 2015, he finished fourth with three victories, and also sampled F1 machinery again as he appeared for Manor in the Abu Dhabi tire test.

Manor is yet to name its drivers for the 2016 F1 campaign as it prepares to debut a new car for the first time since 2014, which will be equipped with current-year Mercedes power units.

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