Rio Haryanto says the new Manor MRT05 represents a “huge” improvement compared to last year’s MR03B.
The Indonesian racer just completed his first two days of pre-season testing as a fully-fledged F1 driver in Barcelona, but Haryanto had also driven the old Manor during last December’s Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi.
Due to financial difficulties, the MR03B was only an update of the 2014-spec Marussia MR03 with the team also using year-old Ferrari engines. The switch to Mercedes power combined with a 2016 chassis has not go unnoticed by Haryanto.
“We have a new car, a new development and all I can say is the difference between the old car because I tested it, compared to this one there are huge steps of development and performance,” the 23-year-old said.
“I am learning from my side and from the team, we try to build as much of a relationship before the first grand prix, I think that is the key to get our target.”
Haryanto knows his way around the paddock quite well, having raced in GP2 Series for four years and sampled F1 machinery on several occasions. But the Indonesian admits the step up to full-time role remains a genuine challenge.
“It is interesting coming from GP2 to F1, because it is a huge difference. In GP2 you only work with two engineers, in F1 you work with 30 or 40! There are a lot of people involved and procedures to follow so it is a big change. By time I will get used to it.”
“I am getting more confident with the team and the relationship with the engineers. I am still here learning and there are still two more days for testing so I will try to do my best to learn as much as I can.”