The long negotiation for a seat at the Mercedes powered Manor team – where five and maybe even six drivers are contenders – is entering its final days, according to the Jakarta Post.
The Indonesian newspaper is closely following the fortunes of Rio Haryanto, a local driver who finished the 2015 GP2 season in fourth place.
He is reportedly on pole for a seat at Manor thanks to his backing by the Indonesian government, including the state-owned oil company Pertamina. The latest report suggests Haryanto’s wait for news has entered its final week.
“I really hope for the best that my dream will come true,” he said during a press conference at the youth and sports ministry building in Jakarta.
The Jakarta Post said Haryanto has $5.6 million in Pertamina sponsorship, plus another $7.2 million from the youth and sports ministry.
It would appear to make him the favourite for a Manor seat, among other candidates including Alexander Rossi, Will Stevens, and Mercedes’ Pascal Wehrlein along with Kevin Magnussen and Pastor Maldonado.
Should the Venezuelan be ditched by Renault and have the PVDSA budget at his disposal, his only remaining option would be Manor. Should Renault retain Maldonado then Magnussen would be a contender for the Manor seat.
Meanwhile Indah Pennywati, Haryanto’s mother, told media this past weekend, “We would like to express our gratitude to the government – Pertamina and state-owned enterprises – which has been very supportive of Rio reaching F1.”
“We are looking forward to good news from Manor Racing regarding Rio’s participation in the event by next week,” added Pennywati, who is involved with her son’s management.
A spokesman for the youth and sports ministry said a down-payment to Manor is due shortly, “Therefore, this week will be a critical time for Rio in entering F1. We’ve done our best. We’ll all see how it ends.”