Haryanto out, Ocon in as race driver for Manor

© AP, 10 August 2016
AP Photo/Rob Griffith

Formula One team Manor terminated Rio Haryanto's contract as a race driver, replacing him Wednesday with Esteban Ocon for the remainder of the season.

AP Photo/Rob Griffith

Manor said in a statement that Haryanto, the first Indonesian to drive in F1, "was unable to meet his contractual obligations" related to the forwarding of funds from his personal sponsors.

Manor race director Dave Ryan said the team had been patient with Haryanto's sponsors, but their time had run out.

"Some time ago, his management indicated they were experiencing difficulties honoring the obligations of that contract beyond the Hungarian Grand Prix," Ryan said.

"Rio's team have worked tirelessly to try to resolve the 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."

Shortly after confirming Haryanto's removal, Manor announced that Ocon will be the race driver for the remainder of the season, starting with the upcoming Belgian GP.

Ocon, who won the European Formula 3 championship in 2014 and GP3 title last year, has been racing for Mercedes in Germany's DTM touring car championship this season. Ocon, who turns 20 next month, is considered a strong candidate to be promoted to a race seat at the Renault team next year.

"I'm thrilled that I'll be making my Grand Prix debut with Manor Racing later this month, and at Spa, of all circuits, which is the next best thing to my home race," Ocon said. "I'm ready for this exciting step up."

 

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