Rio Haryanto plans to savour every moment of his history-making Formula 1 debut this weekend.
Haryanto will become the first Indonesian to compete in the sport when he takes to the track for Manor Racing in Melbourne, and he is determined to do his country proud.
“It feels like a dream after more than 16 years of trying,” he told DPA. “Formula One has always been my ultimate goal; being the first F1 driver from Indonesia really means a lot.”
Rio in the F1 paddock in preparation for the Australian GP, the Indonesian flag is flying high in the Melbourne sky pic.twitter.com/9fjiRFqemp
— Piers Hunnisett (@piershunnisett) March 16, 2016
The Australian Grand Prix will feature an elimination qualifying format for the first time. It is a move that has attracted plenty of criticism and controversy, but Haryanto has said he is happy to give it a fair shot before making a judgement.
“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.”