New backers could help Haryanto return to F1 in 2017

Rio Haryanto losing his Manor Formula 1 drive to Esteban Ocon brought new backers out of the woodwork, which could help him return in 2017, the Indonesian's manager says

New backers could help Haryanto return to F1 in 2017

Haryanto was dropped form Manor's F1 race line-up during the summer break, after the funding required to meet his contractual obligations did not materialise.

He was replaced by Mercedes junior and Renault reserve Ocon and then accepted an offer to stay on as reserve, a role it is understood does not require funding.

Haryanto's manager Piers Hunnisett said when the news broke that Haryanto had been dropped, new backers started to come forward.

"There was shock in Indonesia," he told Autosport. "They were asking 'why is our boy not racing?'

"Some people came forward to ask how they could help.

"It woke them up. The money was in place, but Ocon had done the deal. We missed the window by a week.

"We were promised funding by the government and we had some problems there.

"But there were some normal commercial sponsorships, not only from Indonesia but from the rest of Asia as well - one from Japan, one from Thailand - so it all came together. It was just too late."

Hunnisett said those same backers are interested in helping get Haryanto back on the grid next year with talks set to accelerate from this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

The plan is to put together a package that will not require government support.

"We are working for next year and we're quite optimistic that what has happened has woken everything up," he said. "It's realistic now."

"We always knew it would take time, you have to educate the Asian market about F1, and we just needed a bit longer.

"There are conversations going on about next year but nothing serious.

"In Singapore, I'll be back in Asia speaking to sponsors and some of the potential investors will be there so let's see how it goes from there."

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