British driver Will Stevens has been dropped by Manor for replacement by Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto for the upcoming 2016 season.
Stevens had been unable to score a point last season after 18 grand prix starts. The Brit’s replacement means that there will be three British drivers on the grid this year, Mercedes’ World Champion Lewis Hamilton, McLaren’s Jenson Button and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer.
Stevens managed to secure the drive with Manor last year through sponsorship which was believed to be of about £6m. Haryanto, however, is bringing in about £10m in sponsorship from Indonesia’s main oil company, and finished fourth in last year’s GP2 series, after winning three of those races.
The Indonesian said that Manor “had produced a great package and [he] can’t wait to get in the car“.
Steven Fitzpatrick, Manor’s owner, said “he’s tenacious on and off the track and made a big impression on last year’s GP2 battle“.
Stevens made his F1 debut in one-off drive for Caterham at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2014.
Pascal Wehrlein, DTM German Touring Car racer, was named as the first driver for Manor last week.
It was clear that last year Manor were behind the pace of the other teams, but Stevens managed to finish 14 out of the 18 races that he started. His best result was 13th place at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.
Manor have struggled at the rear end of the grid since their start in 2010, but the new engine deal that they have secured with Mercedes for 2016 might help them to gain a few more places.
The first race of the season begins on the 20th March for the Australian Grand Prix.