Rio Haryanto was rumored to be in discussions with Manor for a seat and a return to the minnow F1 outfit, but that plan has now hit a major road block.
The Indonesian’s prominent backer, state-owned energy company Pertamina has decided to pull its sponsorship unfortunately, leaving Haryanto without any substantial sponsorship for 2017.
“This year there will not be a continuation of participation by Pertamina in F1,” spokeswoman Wianda Pusponegoro said in a statement on Tuesday, noting that Pertamina could not meet a sponsorship deadline.
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“Of course we regret this very much, but we have already made maximal efforts for Rio and Indonesia.”
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Through his management, Rio Haryanto, who ran in 12 races last year with Manor before he was replaced by Esteban Ocon at Spa, said that he was still hopeful about his future as a Grand Prix driver.
We are still working on a plan to keep Rio in Formula One,” Haryanto’s manager, Piers Hunnisett, told Reuters.
“People in the F1 world felt he did a good job and he deserves to be there,” Hunnisett said, adding that it would be a “great shame” if Haryanto missed out on a seat in 2017.
Pertamina have been Haryanto’s constant backers in F1, to the tune of over $5M, and while the Indonesian was seeking additional non-government support, he was confident that Pertamina would continue its sponsorship.
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