Formula One: Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto makes history

    Rio Haryanto (right) was unveiled by Manor Racing at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

    Story highlights

    • Rio Haryanto to pilot the Manor Racing car
    • The 23-year-old is first Indonesian to compete in F1

    (CNN)Rio Haryanto will make history next month when he becomes the first Indonesian driver to race in Formula One.

    The 23-year-old has signed for Manor Racing for the 2016 season and will partner German Pascal Wehrlein, who was announced as the British-based team's lead driver earlier this month.
    "Manor Racing is a team with an exciting vision and ambitious plans," Haryanto said in a statement on the Manor F1 team website.
    "They have produced a great package and I can't wait to get in the car."
    The Indonesian, who finished fourth in last year's GP2 Series, will make his debut at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 20.
    "Melbourne will be a huge moment for me, my country, supporters and fans and I want to thank everyone who's been with me since I started in single seaters; 2016 is my chance to reward that faith and represent Asia in F1," he said.

    'Tenacious' driver

    Manor Racing owner, Stephen Fitzpatrick, described Haryanto as a "tenacious" individual with a massive fan base in his homeland.
    Haryanto driving during the GP2 Feature Race at Sochi Autodrom on in October 2015.
    "Rio's been racing since he first got into a kart at six years old. He's tenacious on and off the track and made a big impression on last year's GP2 battle," Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
    "Rio's huge following in Indonesia is great for the team and for F1. They are keen to see him on the grid and we're confident that we'll see him enjoying some exciting battles in the year ahead."
    Haryanto in the cockpit of the Manor Racing car.
    Haryanto and Wehrlein replace last year's line up of Briton Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi from Brazil. U.S. driver Alexander Rossi, who started five races for the team towards the end of 2015 season, also misses out.
    Manor Racing finished 10th in last season's Constructors' Championship, failing to score a point in 19 races. The team scored its first and only points to date in F1 during the 2014 season when Jules Bianchi finished 9th at the Monaco Grand Prix.
    The Frenchman tragically died in July 2015, succumbing to head injuries sustained in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in October 2014.