Rio Haryanto says the huge support he receives from his native Indonesia has been instrumental in him attaining his goal of reaching Formula 1 as he made his much anticipated debut with Manor Racing in testing.
The 23 year-old was last week confirmed to be making his F1 race debut with the new-look Manor team this season in a deal that will see him become the first person from Indonesia to start a grand prix.
A huge coup for Indonesia, which has a vast motorsport fanbase across two and four wheels, Haryanto says the massive support he receives in his home nation has been a big influence.
“Without their support that they are giving me I don't think I'd be here,” he said. “I am here because I want to do a good job as well. I think I just have to focus on my job and not think about the pressure.”
Reflecting on his first day in the MRT05, Haryanto completed 78 laps and endured a spin, but was happy with the progress made.
“I made a small mistake and that's it. There was no damage to the car and we managed to get ongoing in the afternoon again.
“The team just told me that we did the most laps by far compared to the first two days. It was a very productive day for me and also for the team.”