“F1: Merhi joins Manor Marussia for opening rounds”
Former DTM racer Roberto Merhi has been announced as the second driver with the Manor Marussia F1 team today.
The Spaniard is set to contest at least the opening rounds of the season, making his Formula One debut at Melbourne this weekend, although it is unknown at this stage how many Grand Prix he will enter.
Merhi ran in three FP1 sessions with Caterham toward the end of last season, before the Leafield team collapsed.
He said, “I am incredibly excited to be making my Formula 1 debut with Manor Marussia F1 Team in Melbourne this weekend. It is a big responsibility but I feel ready to make this step in my career and to show that I can make an important contribution to developing a team.”
After finishing 3rd in the Formula Renault 3.5 series last season, the 23-year-old has also been signed by the Pons Racing team, as he looks to contest that series on a full-time basis. However it is understood that should a sponsor arrive to take Merhi beyond those first few races, he will push to remain in Formula One.
Merhi enjoyed several years in single-seaters prior to a two-year stint in DTM with Mercedes, and although he scored a Mercedes-powered championship victory in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2011, his time in touring cars brought precious few rewards.
A move to FR3.5 in 2014 reinvigorated Merhi’s single-seater career, with the then Zeta Corse racer challenging eventual champion Carlos Sainz Jr for the title up until the final weekend.
Merhi will partner the already signed Will Stevens; another graduate from FR3.5’s 2014 campaign.