Manor dump rio, sign Ocon for rest of season

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As we all suspected based upon news in the press, Rio Haryanto has lost his main seat at Manor F1 team but has been offered a role as the reserve driver behind his replacement, Esteban Ocon—another Mercedes junior driver program just like Manor’s other driver, Pascal Wehrlein.

AUTOSPORT says that the Haryanto team couldn’t convince the Indonesian government to pony up more cash and keep his career going. Regardless, it must be said that Rio did a handy job of it given the lack of Formula 1 drivers from that particular area of the world. If you consider Wehrlein as one of the best and brightest of the Mercedes stable, then rio stood his ground and fared very well against seriously tough competition and that must be attributed to this young man from Indonesia. Manor F1 racing director Dave Ryan said:

“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.”

Ocon will make his F1 debut at the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps and has been cutting his teeth as the reserve driver for Renault Sport F1 and competing in the German DTM series for Mercedes.


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Is it fair to say that they dumped him? He, by way of not coming up with the necessary cash, dumped Manor, didn’t he? Also, they didn’t completely dump him since he will remain with the team as their reserve driver. Implicit in Rio’s new position as reserve driver is the now complete divorce from Alexander Rossi, at least for 2016. We knew that Rossi had already declined to pursue the Manor seat for the remainder of 2016 because of his IndyCar obligations, but now that he’s been formally replaced as the team’s reserve driver, what does this say about… Read more »

Negative Camber

In my lexicon, you don’t have the cash, you get dumped for someone who does or someone who brings more to the table. :)

Tom Firth

I’d not read too much into that.. Manor has two reserve drivers already, with Jordan King as well as Rossi, Mclaren has two, Williams has two. Give them a different titles but effectively all in the same position.

Bring money, do not a lot else, and presumably in Rio’s case, it solves any issues contractually for both parties.

Negative Camber

You’re leaving out Carmen, Tom. Shame. ;)

Tom Firth

She’s a brand ambassador, whatever the difference is these days ;-)

Tom Firth

Happy for Ocon. Esteban deserved the Renault seat that Palmer got in my opinion so very happy to see him on the F1 grid. As for Rio, unfortunately that’s the nature of motor racing with a team that needs funding, if it doesn’t appear, have to look elsewhere.

I think he did an ok job, its hard to be seen as ‘good’ in a manor, he’s not as good as Wehrlein, that’s basically all we know. Junior formula would show Ocon as the far better choice though.

Max Johnson

Doesn’t matter if he had the $7million, that will only keep him for short term. This is not the question of money so much as the will of Mercedes.

The Captain

You know I really wanted to have an opinion about this, I actually sat here staring at my computer for several minutes trying to muster one up, but there’s something about that revolving door of pay drivers that is the back of the grid that makes me just not care.

At least they didn’t replace him with Maldonado I guess.

Paul KieferJr

So, what do you think will happen when nobody has the cash to take a seat?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x