Roberto Merhi to drive for Manor in 'opening rounds'

Jun 27, 2014
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It was confirmed yesterday that the Spaniard Roberto Merhi will land the second Manor F1 seat alongside Brit Will Stevens, although the team has only confirmed him so far for the early season races.

Roberto Merhi was very close to racing for the ailing Caterham team late last season, taking part in Free Practice 1 sessions for the team at Monza, Sochi and Susuka and was very close to driving for the team in their brief return at the title deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Although he has completed several free practice runs already, his current Super license only covers Friday running at the present moment, although the team lobbied to have his Super license upgraded so he can drive for Manor.

Merhi has an impressive CV as he claimed the Euro F3 title in 2011 before aligning himself with Mercedes in the DTM for two years. His return to single seaters in the Renault World Series last season was an impressive one as he took the unfancied Zeta Corse team to the brink of the drivers title, eventually finishing third after the final round.

Alongside this announcement came a secondary announcement that GP2 rookie Jordan King will be the team's reserve driver this year. This seems a logical move with Jordan's dad Justin being closely associated with the team and it's resurrection.

This latest move for Merhi seems a slightly bizarre move for the Spaniard, as he only last week announced a deal to return to the Renault World Series this year with the Pons Racing team. The fact that the deal is currently only for the opening races raises some concerns with the ambiguity surely being unsettling for the young Spanish driver.

This move makes sense with Manor looking for young, hungry drivers like Merhi, who has some F1 experience and can bring some sponsorship funding with him also. It will be interesting to see how he adapts himself to the Manor car and performs in his Grand Prix debut this weekend in Australia.

What are your thoughts on this deal? Feel free to comment below.
 
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Jul 23, 2014
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I think F1 needs more drivers who failed in DTM ... NOT! :roflmao:
That's not really fair - especially when more celebrated open-wheel drivers like Antonio Felix da Costa haven't exactly set the DTM ablaze after going there. Merhi was the closest rival Sainz had all last season in what many consider to be the best F1 feeder category in the world. Yes, that bid unraveled in the last few rounds, but Merhi is a stellar single-seater driver who has earned a place on the grid on his driving merit.

Even if it is just for a handful of races, the fact that Merhi has reached the summit after those dismal runs in DTM left him contemplating retirement at age 22 is a story that's worth accompanying the revival of Manor GP as a whole.

(Not to mention, Merhi has the best hair in the F1 paddock.)
 

Queequeg

500RPM
Jul 30, 2013
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This is actually a pleasant surprise since I expected them to just bring some walking money bag to the grid. While it is true that there are more accomplished single seater drivers out there waiting for an opportunity in F1, I think Mehri earned his shot by doing well in the Renault World Series and F3 in the past. Single seater experience often does not translate well to DTM and vice versa, so let's spread silence over this episode:rolleyes:.
 

eltidi

1RPM
Jul 6, 2012
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I think F1 needs more drivers who failed in DTM ... NOT! :roflmao:
The fact that Merhi had a dysmal run in dtm has nothing to do with him and more to do with the team that in some races didn't even have the required equipment for the pits. He has great natural talent and has never payed for a seat.
 
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