Rio Haryanto’s chances of securing an F1 seat in 2017 have received a severe blow, with state-owned oil company Pertamina terminating its sponsorship of the Indonesian driver.
Haryanto made his grand prix debut in 2016 for Manor, taking part in the first 12 races of the season before being dropped in favour of Mercedes-backed Esteban Ocon.
The Indonesian was in running for a seat at both Sauber and Manor, but the chances of him making an F1 return now appear to be bleak.
"This year there will not be a continuation of participation by Pertamina in F1," spokeswoman Wianda Pusponegoro said in a statement.
"Of course we regret this very much, but we have already made maximal efforts for Rio and Indonesia," she said.
Haryanto’s manager Piers Hunnisett, however, hasn’t given up hope just yet, and is trying to find a spot for the Indonesian on the 2017 grid.
"We are still working on a plan to keep Rio in Formula One," Hunnisett told Reuters.
"People in the Formula One world felt he did a good job and he deserves to be there.
"Obviously, we were hoping to move into a team like Sauber - that was the plan but things are going to slow down a little bit.”
Haryanto’s best result in his brief Formula 1 stint is a 15th-place finish at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Prior to his graduation to the top echelon of motorsport, the 23-year-old raced in GP2, winning three races in 2015.
by Rachit Thukral