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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