Manor set for cash injection from In­done­sia

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

The team are poised to take on state-backed Rio Haryanto, with for­mer Mclaren man Martin Whit­marsh in­volved be­hind the scenes

In­done­sian GP2 racer Rio Haryanto looks set to take up a race seat at Manor Marus­sia for 2016 af­ter his coun­try’s govern­ment pledged £11.3m of spon­sor­ship.

A let­ter re­leased by In­done­sia’s Min­is­ter of Youth and Sport, Imam Nahrawi, guar­an­teed the pay­ment “to be made via sev­eral in­stal­ments in re­turn for the brand­ing space taken on the race cars and driv­ers’ race wear, plus a host of pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­mote In­done­sia and as­so­ci­ated com­pa­nies”.

Haryanto has long been linked with a drive for Manor Marus­sia, whose other can­di­dates in­clude for­mer Mclaren driver Kevin Mag­nussen as well as 2015 rac­ers Will Stevens, Alexan­der Rossi and Roberto Merhi.

Stevens has ex­pressed his con­fi­dence that he will re­tain his seat. “If it’s go­ing to hap­pen, I’m sure it’s not go­ing to be far away,” he said. “In terms of how con­fi­dent I am to get the seat, I’m 100 per cent con­fi­dent.”

Manor Marus­sia are now a much more at­trac­tive propo­si­tion for driv­ers than pre­vi­ously, fol­low­ing their ac­qui­si­tion of a Mercedes en­gine and a tech­ni­cal part­ner­ship with Wil­liams, Rio Haryanto is set for a Manor Marus­sia seat, with Kevin Mag­nussen, Alexan­der Rossi and Will Stevens com­pet­ing for the other one

which will pro­duce the car’s gear­box and rear sus­pen­sion. But they re­main a team in tran­si­tion fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of their founder and team prin­ci­pal John Booth, as well as pres­i­dent and sport­ing di­rec­tor Graeme Low­don, at the end of last sea­son.

Owner Stephen Fitz­patrick tried to re­cruit for­mer F1 driver Alexan­der Wurz as team prin­ci­pal, but Wurz turned him down. This ap­pears to leave a va­cancy above new rac­ing di­rec­tor Dave Ryan, who is re­turn­ing to F1 af­ter a six-year ab­sence, in the wake of the ‘Lie-gate’ scan­dal fol­low­ing the 2009 Aus­tralian GP.

For­mer Mclaren team prin­ci­pal Martin Whit­marsh has been in­volved with Manor Marus­sia be­hind the scenes, and has re­cently been in­ter­view­ing can­di­date driv­ers. How­ever, he has no for­mal role and has said that he is not in­ter­ested in be­ing an F1 team prin­ci­pal. But sources claim he would be in­ter­ested in a more se­nior role with Manor if one were avail­able.

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