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Haryanto out, Ocon in as Manor F1 driver

Associated Press Associated Press 10/08/2016

Formula One team Manor has terminated Rio Haryanto's contract as a race driver, replacing him with Frenchman Esteban Ocon for the remainder of the season.

Manor said in a statement on Wednesday that Haryanto, the first Indonesian to drive in F1, "was unable to meet his contractual obligations" related to the forwarding of funds from his personal sponsors.

Manor race director Dave Ryan said the team had been patient with Haryanto's sponsors but their time had run out.

"Some time ago, his management indicated they were experiencing difficulties honouring the obligations of that contract beyond the Hungarian Grand Prix," Ryan said.

"Rio's team have worked tirelessly to try to resolve the situation with his Indonesian backers and we have supported those efforts as much as possible, including allowing Rio to race in Germany.

"Unfortunately, we reached a point where, in the best interests of the team, we were forced to explore other options for the remainder of the season."

Shortly after confirming Haryanto's removal, Manor announced Ocon would be their driver for the rest of the F1 season, starting with the Belgian Grand Prix.

Ocon, who won the European Formula 3 championship in 2014 and GP3 title last year, has been racing this season for Mercedes in Germany's DTM touring car championship. Turning 20 next month, he is considered a strong candidate to be promoted next year to a race seat at the Renault team.

"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," Ocon said. "I'm ready for this exciting step up."

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