Haryanto would have no qualms about winning 'Driver of the Day' award

Rio Haryanto says he would have no qualms about winning Formula 1's 'Driver of the Day' award at some point this year, even if his performance on track did not warrant it.

The Indonesian's huge fanbase back home had left him looking like he was on course to win FOM's first 'Driver of the Day' poll for Melbourne.

But in the end that accolade went to Romain Grosjean after it was announced by F1's official website that it would not count all the votes that had been cast.

It stated: "In the interests of fairness multiple votes identified as originating from the same source were not counted."

That decision prompted complaints from Indonesian fans, a number of whom felt that the voting criteria had been changed at the last minute to prevent their man winning.

Haryanto himself said that he had been a bit surprised not to have come out on top.

"I don't have the record in my hand, but obviously I thought I was winning – and then the next day it was very different," he said.

"But there is nothing we can do. It is what Formula One Management does."

Show of support

Although Haryanto did not finish in Melbourne, he has said he would not have any problem if he had come out on top of the poll, simply because it shows that his fans are fully behind him.

When asked if it would have been a bit embarrassing to have beaten Grosjean after the Frenchman's starring driver, he said: "Not really...I have huge followers back home and again we have a huge population. A lot of people support me.

"I have huge fans and a lot of people supporting me. Even in GP2 when we had a voting system of who had the best car liveries, or who had the best helmet design, I was always on top. I am really grateful I have a huge amount of support."

Haryanto made clear that from his perspective, the Driver of the Day Award was about showing which driver had more support, not necessarily who had done the best job on track.

"It is up to the fans. They are the ones who voted," he said. "I am thankful. It means they are really supporting me, even when I don't have a great race. They still are very loyal fans."

Flag controversy

Haryanto also said he hoped that Formula 1's television grid graphics will display the Indonesian flag this weekend, after his was the only name to have a blank space next to his portrait in Australia.

The issue caused some controversy in Indonesia with Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi issuing a statement expressing his unhappiness about what happened.

"Rio has made history and put Indonesia on the world stage. It's no surprise that people are mad when [Rio] was flagless," Imam said in a statement issued the week after Australia.

"If other drivers were introduced along with their flags, Rio equally should have had also."

Haryanto himself added: "I don't know what happened, to be honest.

"Hopefully, it doesn't happen again in the future. I felt sorry about that. It is nothing much we can do, hopefully they get the flag this time right."

It is understood that Haryanto's Manor team has talked to F1 chiefs about the flag issue in a bid to ensure there is no repeat problem this weekend.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Rio Haryanto
Teams Manor Racing
Article type Breaking news