Rio Haryanto, MRT Mercedes
Haryanto was classified 21st out of the 21 finishers last time out in Hungary and he was beaten by his team mate Pascal Wehrlein. In fact, in every race where both the Manors have finished in 2016, Haryanto has been behind his teammate and is usually classified last with Wehrlein always at least two places better than him.
Race performance, however, is not why Haryanto suddenly finds himself under a lot of pressure, his sponsors have not delivered financially to the Manor team and there is significant talk that Stoffel Vandoorne could be in that seat by the time we get to Spa. It is only that we have back-to-back race weekends that is keeping the Indonesian in a seat at present.
This could be Haryanto’s last grand prix, there is talk of sponsors willing to fund him for the three Asian races in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan but he’ll need to give them something worth paying for.
Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, Sauber Ferrari
Sauber are the only team to have not scored a point in 2016. In 2015 Nasr scored 27 points in his debut year and Ericsson scored nine. This season has so far been fruitless and the sight of Renault and even Manor getting on the board is not going to make for pretty reading.
While the financial difficulties have been well documented and there are some mitigating factors for both Ericsson and Nasr to point towards, Sauber now has new owners at the helm and you would hope that investment will come. Both drivers are now fighting to prove their worth ahead of what should be a much improved 2017.
Jolyon Palmer, Renault
It’s getting a bit predictable and cliché to include Palmer in this article. Along with Daniil Kvyat he could be a permanent fixture, but after Hungary his need has become dire. In all fairness Palmer isn’t having a bad season. His teammate got lucky at the start of the season to pick up some points, but since then it has been as predicted for the Renault team, a season of regrouping and building for the future.
He has had some retirements and failures from good positions that he could do nothing about but in Hungary, losing the back end out of turn 11, when he was almost assured his first World Championship points, casts some serious doubts over his pedigree at the highest level. Esteban Ocon looms in the background like the Grim Reaper of Palmer’s short F1 career. He needs to score a point, just one will do, and he needs to score it quickly.
Jordan King, Manor GP2
The GP2 Championship is currently being led by Pierre Gasly, the young Frenchman who is the next off the line driver of the Red Bull Academy and virtually guaranteed to be at Toro Rosso in 2017 alongside Carlos Sainz, as Daniil Kvyat puts the finishing touches on his breakdown. The other driver in GP2 tipped to step up is Jordan King.
He is already Manor’s development driver and has improved significantly over his second season in the junior formula. With Mercedes development driver Pascal Wehrlein looking to move on to a better car in 2017 and Haryanto seemingly on his way out, the door is open for the young Brit.
He is currently sixth in the standings and 27 points behind Gasly, a good weekend in Germany could easily move him above Raffaele Marciello, who is only five points ahead of him in third place. He has won and scored Podiums in the second (Sprint) Race all season but is yet to finish in the top six in the main race, where the bigger points are given out, a win in Race One this weekend could see Manor handing him a contract.