Rio Haryanto, The Most Potential Indonesian Young Driver

Rio Haryanto. Sounds familiar, eh? Yup, he is one of the Indonesian racing driver. He is currently competing with Barwa Addax Racing Team for 2013 season. He is also the first Indonesian racing driver who acquired FIA Super Licence. This 20 year-old teenager started his car racing career by competing in three Asian-based series, Asian Formula Renault Challenge, Formula Asia 2.0, and Formula BMW Pacific. In Formula Asia 2.0, he won 2 races and finish 3rd overall in the championship standing behind two European expatriate drivers, Felix Rosenqvist and Matthias Beche.

In 2009, he focused in Formula BMW Pacific championship. And yes, he dominated this competition by winning 11 from 15 races. He made it to the pole position in 7 races. He made it to the podiums in 12 races. He made 9 fastest laps in 9 races. Superb performance by 16-year old boy!

2010, no one knows this year will be one of the most successful year on his career history. This year, it was his rookie year at GP3 Series. Joined Manor Racing, he went to his first European competitive season. He took his first victory on Istanbul Park, 2nd series of the season. After another two podium finish at Silverstone & Monza, he finished on 5th overall championship standings and leading the others Manor driver. The Autosport Magazine said, “Rio’s pace was one of the surprises of the season”. At the end of the season, he went for a Young Driver Test at Abu Dhabi. Using the Virgin Racing car, he achieved his personal record as the first Indonesian driver who drives in Formula One car. Even though he finished in last place because the transmission problem, he made a significant appearance as an Indonesian driver.

Back to 2011, he went for another season at GP3 series. Competing for Manor Racing, he did a so-so season. He only finished in 7th overall standings even though he won 2 races in a wet condition. Because of that, he missed another chance to drive a Formula One car in 2011. But, in 2012, he went to a higher grade, the GP2 Series. He went to the competition with Marussia Manor Racing. Despite only scored 38 points and ranked in 14th, Rio once again had a chance to drive a F1 car. He called to took part at Young Driver Test at Silverstone Circuit. Running over the course of two days, Haryanto completed 300 kilometers of testing, satisfying one of the conditions to be eligible for a superlicence and becoming the first Indonesian driver to qualify for one.

For 2013, he will stay at GP3 while his team-mate Max Chilton got the contract at Marussia F1. I hope in 2014, he will get the same chance too. So, government, please support him at all cost. He is definitely one of the most precious assets of Indonesia. I wish that we will find another Rio to make the Indonesian proud.

PS : Tulisan ini pernah mengikuti perlombaan menulis essay di Youth Speak! Fun Day yang diselenggarakan oleh Kemendikbud, The Jakarta Post Foundation, dan US Embassy. All rights reserved.