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First ever Indonesian F1 driver signs for Manor

2016-02-18 14:03

MAKING HISTORY: Rookie Rio Haryanto will become the first Indonesian Formula 1 driver after joining British team Manor. AFP / Adek Berry

London, England - Formula 1 team Manor has appointed Indonesia's Rio Haryanto as one of its race drivers for the coming season.

The 23-year-old Haryanto will become the first Indonesian to compete in F1 and joins Germany's Pascal Wehrlein in an all-rookie lineup for the season that begins March 20 in Melbourne, Australia.

Completes driver lineup

The second race seat at Manor was the last vacancy among the 11 teams for 2016, and Haryanto's appointment completes the driver lineup.

Haryanto has spent the past four seasons racing in the GP2 series, winning three races in 2015 to secure fourth place in the season standings. He has had commercial backing from Indonesia's state oil and gas company Pertamina.

Manor owner Stephen Fitzpatrick said Haryanto is "tenacious on and off the track and made a big impression on last year's GP2 battle."

Fitzpatrick said: "Rio's huge following in Indonesia is great for the team and for F1. They are keen to see him on the grid and we're confident that we'll see him enjoying some exciting battles in the year ahead," Fitzpatrick said.

Read: DTM champ Wehrlein to race for F1 team Manor

The appointment of Wehrlein and Haryanto means there is no place for American driver Alex Rossi, who raced with the team in 2015 and had been hopeful of retaining his place.

Manor's switch to a Mercedes engine this season had raised hopes of a more competitive showing for the team, which entered the sport in 2010 as Virgin and then Marussia.



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