Live Phuket The Phuket News The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News World Sport
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World  | Surf Report  | Predictions XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

From karting to F1, Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a pub trivia question for you: name as many Southeast Asian Formula One drivers as you can.


Michael Lamonato

Saturday 16 July 2016, 12:22PM


Manor Racing's Rio Haryanto. Photo: Manor Racing
Manor Racing's Rio Haryanto. Photo: Manor Racing

You don’t need long, and you don’t even need an entire hand of fingers to count them – there have been just three drivers in F1’s entire history to hail from one of the world’s most culturally diverse regions.

The first came from here at home – Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh, otherwise known as Prince Bira of Siam, who raced in the first five seasons of the world championship, but to limited success, scoring points just three times before retiring.

It took 46 years for our region to earn its second driver, this time from neighbouring Malaysia. Alex Yoong debuted at the 2001 Italian Grand Prix with Minardi, but his F1 career was short-lived – he was entered into just 18 races before being dropped by the team at the end of 2002.

But today Southeast Asia can again lay claim to a presence on the Formula One grid.

His name is Rio Haryanto, an unassuming and softly-spoken Indonesian, and at the British Grand Prix, as he hurtled rapidly towards the halfway point of his debut season with the Manor team, he sat down with The Phuket News.

Born in 1993, Haryanto tried his hand at karting at just six years old, but as an aspiring race car driver he had only the traditional European idols for inspiration.

“At that time I was always looking up to Michael [Schumacher],” he said. “I think it was 2000, and he was dominating back then.

“I always looked up to him, and I think I remember I said to my dad that one day I wanted to be a Formula One driver.”

In parallel with Schumacher’s increasingly dominant hold on the sport, Haryanto’s own talents grew, pushing him up through the karting ranks.

“As the years go on you have to show your potential. I went to the world championship of karting when I was 15. I managed to get fourth in the World Cup.

“I think that was the turning point, right after I came fourth in the world championship – I then went into Formula Renault, GP3, and GP2.”

But raising the attention of the world’s motorsport elite from the Indonesian archipelago so far-flung from Europe is only half the battle. As is always the case in motorsport, a driver’s ability to raise funds to match his ambition is almost as important as driving itself.

“Motor racing is an expensive sport. Of course for us it’s never been easy. To get sponsorship back in Asia or Indonesia at that time was really difficult.

Zurich Bread

“Thankfully I got a sponsorship deal with [Indonesian state oil and gas company] Pertamina – I think they came on board in 2010 – and they asked us to write a plan for going to Formula One as it’s also a great opportunity for them to get a bigger market.

“Thankfully they’ve been really supporting me for the past few years.”

But that support hasn’t always been enough, and the finance attached to Haryanto’s contract with Manor has been understood to secure the first half of the 2016 season only.

Some of the fog that hung low around his future has been dispersed by his comparative performance against his highly rated Mercedes-backed teammate Pascal Wehrlein, and at Silverstone Haryanto told reporters his management was confident his deal would be extended to the end of the year.

“I feel like it’s good to have Pascal as a teammate and as a benchmark, because I think he will be a future Mercedes driver,” he said. “I think it shows my potential. It’s a great opportunity to work with him.”

If making it to Formula One is one thing, staying there is another, and to help his cause Haryanto is hoping him forging his own path will cultivate interest amongst Indonesia’s 256 million-strong population sufficient to keep up his momentum.

Homegrown support for the national driver has improved so much since the start of the season that the Indonesian government has been running a text message campaign to raise funds for Haryanto.

“I think it’s increasing, especially nowadays. There is one local TV channel that broadcasts Formula One … and I think this helps a lot for the audience.

“I think it’s great to have this support, and I think that motorsport back in Indonesia now has much more interest. I think there are much more young karters, and in GP2 we have two Indonesian drivers as well right now, so I think the interest in motorsport is going up.”

Time will tell if Rio Haryanto can hold onto his seat at Manor long enough to confirm his potential and vie for a contract with a more competitive outfit, but even to continue his confident performances to the end of 2016 could be enough to deliver him a legacy to inspire young racing drivers in Southeast Asia to take the leap.

“Being the first Indonesian driver I think gives a lot of inspiration to the other drivers as well so that they also can do the same. It is good to be an ‘icon’!”

Don’t forget to tune in to Live89.5 each and every Saturday at 9am to hear Box of Neutrals talk F1 and a whole lot more.

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
CAPTCHA
Forget your password?

vie2k | 17 July 2016 - 07:08:27

Do the best Rio, believe yourself and keep spirit.
God will help you

The Phuket News
Matches 1 result(s)
The Phuket News
The Phuket News
The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Phuket Airport calls on travellers to prevent terminal confusion

If the passenger is unsure if the are getting an international flight or internal flight then they really are in a lot of trouble and its a wonder the...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards warn of dangerous surf after Chinese tourist rescue

Asterix... read this: http://www.thephuketnews.com/china-officials-raise-safety-phuket-tourism-concerns-59255.php#xqW0HfgC6AjiTyl6.97. They are the...(Read More)


No murder, but suspicions in Tawatchai death

rorii...their investigative reporting is top notch. This article presents as a perfect example. Are you still crying because PN wouldn't invest...(Read More)


Phuket Airport calls on travellers to prevent terminal confusion

Maybe if they took down the sign at the old airport saying international airport and made signs at the new airport more visible there'd be less co...(Read More)


Court rules revocation of Thaksin’s passports was legal

Kurt...."I am sure he doesn't care less" yet in the sentence before you state: "What a waist of court times about Mr Taksin's p...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Technology the driving force in making Phuket's roads safer

Kurt.."Who cares about helmet"...you do for starters as well as commentators on here after any reports of deaths from not wearing helmets. H...(Read More)


Traffic fines likely to get S44 makeover

Just a few days ago the police chief was saying that median strips would not be removed. Anyway, what is the use of removing? You not get extra lan...(Read More)


Court rules revocation of Thaksin’s passports was legal

Kurt I agree it is a waste of court time but of course he cares, that is why he is paying for these court applications. He can travel freely but not...(Read More)


Phuket Airport calls on travellers to prevent terminal confusion

Quite funny thai. ..."Check with your booking agency".. where, my agent in Spain or Dubai? ..."we updating our web site which termina...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards warn of dangerous surf after Chinese tourist rescue

I truely think, that you should have Red Flags, for no swimming and Yellow/Green ones when you can swim. The yellow and red confuses people. . . . ...(Read More)

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
THAI VISA
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2016 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.