MELBOURNE • The Manor Racing team admitted they let down Indonesian rookie Rio Haryanto after his Formula One debut was cut short by mechanical problems at the Australian Grand Prix yesterday.
Haryanto, his country's first F1 driver, pulled out of the race on the 18th of 57 laps after his Manor car experienced driveline problems.
It capped an eventful weekend for the 23-year-old, who incurred a three-place grid penalty for crashing in the pit lane as he went out for a practice session on Saturday.
But Manor team boss Dave Ryan said the team took some of the blame for Haryanto's mishap in the season-opening race at Albert Park.
"After the red flag (race stopped) things took a turn for the worse, starting with the problem that led to Rio's retirement," he said.
"We let him down today so reliability will be our highest priority ahead of the next race in Bahrain and at the same time, we have to look at where we've lost out in performance terms."
Haryanto said he took positives out of his first F1 race.
"My race was short but really positive. I made a good start, the pace was strong and I was happy with the way I was managing the gap to the cars around me," he said.
"Everyone is really starting to work well together so I'm sure we'll be on top of things for Bahrain."
A frustrated Max Verstappen unleashed an expletive-laden tirade on the team radio at the Toro Rosso garage, as the Dutchman's hopes of a maiden podium drifted away. The 18-year-old started fifth but finished 10th and was irked to be beaten by ninth-placed team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Having held his position after a frenetic start, his race began to unravel when he caught his crew napping on an early pit stop. The botched tyre change cost him momentum.
He was later incensed when blocked by Sainz and demanded his team order the Spaniard to slow and be overtaken. But Sainz was allowed to race and Verstappen ended up taking a spin after brushing the rear of his team-mate's car.
Verstappen angrily told his team their strategy was a "joke".
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS