Ocon replaces Haryanto at Manor


Rio Haryanto's fledgling Formula One career has been put on hold after Manor confirmed promising French driver Esteban Ocon will replace him for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Haryanto has struggled in his first F1 campaign with three retirements in 12 races and a highest finish of 15th at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Speculation that his future was uncertain appeared ahead of the German Grand Prix with reports his sponsorship money had run out - making it difficult for Manor to keep him in a seat.

Haryanto had hoped to secure enough funding to see out the season, but Manor announced on Wednesday they have opted to give hot prospect Ocon an opportunity, starting from this month's Belgian Grand Prix.

The 19-year-old is a member of the Mercedes-Benz driver development programme and had been working as reserve driver for Renault.

"I'm thrilled that I'll be making my Grand Prix debut with Manor Racing later this month, and at Spa, of all circuits, which is the next best thing to my home race," said Ocon. 

"I'm ready for this exciting step up, thanks to the experience I've gained as a Formula One reserve driver this season. 

"I'd like to thank Renault Sport F1 Team and Mercedes-Benz for working together to make this happen, and to Manor Racing for the opportunity, which I'm going to grab with both hands. 

"I've visited the Manor Technical Centre already, for my seat fit and to meet with the wider team, so we'll be ready to hit the ground running after the summer break. They've done a great job this season and I'm excited that I've been tasked with helping them to build on that progress. I can't wait to get started!"

Manor insist they will continue to work with Haryanto despite the decision and have offered the 23-year-old as their reserve driver for the final nine races.