BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Manor driver Rio Haryanto’s manager does not yet know if Indonesia’s first Formula One driver will be racing in the German Grand Prix next week.
“I don’t know,” Piers Hunnisett told Reuters at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday. “We’ve got to be positive and hope Rio will be in Germany.”
Haryanto’s main sponsor is state-owned oil company Pertamina, which has contributed five million euros ($5.48 million) towards the funding needed to secure his seat at the sport’s smallest team.
That guarantees Haryanto’s place until this weekend’s Hungarian race and Hunnisett has been working behind the scenes to clinch the funding that will keep the 23-year-old on the grid for the rest of the season.
Indonesian media reports have put the total needed at 15 million euros.
“We’ve had many promises which haven’t come true. We (must) keep working hard and it is our plan to be in Germany,” said Hunnisett who also managed India’s first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan.
Haryanto has acquitted himself well against highly-rated team mate Pascal Wehrlein, matching the German in qualifying over the first 10 races of the season.
He is the only Asian now driving in Formula One and Hunnisett is hoping to use that to tap into a wider base of potential sponsors.
”We are in contact with various companies in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, especially in the future, races coming up in Malaysia and Singapore could be good for us,” he said.
“They’re like home races for Rio. As the only representative in Formula One from Asia, you hope the whole of the Asian community can get onboard.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez