On 10th August it was announced by Manor Racing that Frenchman, Esteban Ocon would be replacing Rio Haryanto for the remainder of the 2016 season. So ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix time to give a little bit more information about Ocon and to also reflect on Haryanto’s time in the sport.
Frenchman, Esteban Ocon is currently part of the Mercedes-Benz driver development programme and has been the third driver for Renault this season as well as competing in DTM, not to forget he has also tested for the Mercedes AMG F1 team at Silverstone.
Prior to 2016 Esteban Ocon had competed in the GP3 series in 2015, where he claimed the title after a close fight with Italian Luca Ghiotto. During that season he only won one Grand Prix but did finish on the podium for eleven consecutive races, of which nine were consecutive second place finishes.
He also competed in the European F3 Championship in 2014, where once again he claimed the title.He claimed nine victories throughout the season and a further twelve podium finishes. He claimed all three race victories at the Moscow Raceway during his title winning season. It is also interesting to note that Max Verstappen was also competing in European F3 that season.
Ocon’s promotion into a Formula One race set is a great opportunity for him to gain more time and racing experience in the sport. From there he can hopefully secure a full-time 2017 drive where we can then take a closer look at his talent and judge whether he will be classed as a future world champion.
Rio Haryanto’s F1 racing career has for the moment taken a pause as he has had to give up his seat to Ocon. Manor Racing however offered Haryanto a reserve driver role for the remainder of 2016, which he accepted.
Although he hasn’t set the sport alight, Haryanto has performed consistently, finishing nine out of the twelve races he has competed in. His best finish came the the Monaco Grand Prix where he claimed fifteenth place.
He has also managed to out qualify his teammate four times outright in Australia, Monaco, Europe and Britain. Haryanto also qualified ahead of his teammate in China but Wehrlein didn’t set a time after crashing during Q1.
He may have had to make way for Ocon, but hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Haryanto in an F1 race seat. I also hope that his appearance in F1 has grown the sport in Indonesia and that we can see more Indonesians appear in the sport and that the F1 fanbase has grown in the country.
Manor now have two Mercedes backed drivers in the team. Many may expect Wehrlein to have the advantage in the early races of the new driver lineup.
But you never know and a close eye should be kept on Manor as two young, fast and talented drivers compete against each other to build a reputation in F1 which will hopefully keep them in the sport for many seasons to come and stake their claim to be considered for top drives when they become available.