Rio Haryanto is set to become the first Indonesian driver to compete in a Formula 1 Grand Prix and says he's keen to make his country proud.
Gearing up for his maiden competitive outing with Manor Racing and his F1 debut, Haryanto feels he's ready for the challenge despite his pre-season testing being curtailed by technical issues in Barcelona.
The Indonesian is particularly intrigued to take on the new qualifying knockout format, which was only confirmed last week, before his 'special' moment lining up on the grid for his F1 debut.
“I want to take it all in, as it's a weekend I'll remember for the rest of my life,” Haryanto said. “On track, I'm looking forward to my first qualifying – and the race of course – but I think the qualifying format is going to be interesting; it's something new for everyone. Then, of course, the race. Lining up on the starting grid is going to be pretty special but there's a lot to do before then.
“This has been my dream for such a long time and I'm enjoying every minute. It's an incredible time for me and my country. The support means so much to me so I want to include my fans every step of the way.”
Haryanto forms an all-new rookie driver line-up at Manor Racing with 2015 DTM champion and Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein driving the sister MRT05. For 2016 there will be three rookie drivers, with Haryanto's former GP2 rival Jolyon Palmer also set for his maiden F1 campaign at Renault.