Merhi hopes for full season with Manor, will honour FR3.5 contract


New Manor F1 Team driver Roberto Merhi wants to make the most of the opportunity to race for the team in order to encourage sponsors to come onboard and ensure he remains in the seat for the whole of the 2015 Formula 1 season.

The Spaniard has also insisted that he will honour his contract with the Pons Racing outfit in Formula Renault 3.5 Series this season, meaning a potentially busy schedule this year.

“I hope that this event will open the opportunity to race again during the season,” said Merhi, who is only slated to race in the opening few races of 2015.

“I need a sponsor if I want to continue, but unfortunately in Spain I’m not finding support. Hopefully this will help me change this situation and face the future with more confidence.”

With free practice less than twenty-four hours away, Merhi feels he will be only fighting with his team-mate Will Stevens on track in Australia, after the team did not test their car before travelling to Melbourne. He expects the interim Manor car to be at least one-to-two seconds a lap slower than the rest of the field.

“I think it will be like that because everybody else has new cars and everyone has improved their cars from last year.”

Speaking about his drive in the World Series by Renault in 2015, Merhi revealed that Pons Racing had been trying hard to get sponsors on board since November so they could sign him for this season, and it would be unprofessional of him now to say that he would not be racing for them.

“Maybe I will also [race in both] because Pons pushed really hard to have me in the car and to find the sponsors to give me a free drive with them this year and they were doing this since November,” said Merhi.

“It will be really bad if I say to them ‘I won’t drive with you anymore’. They pushed really hard for it and I will try to continue with them.

“Obviously we cannot fight for wins [in Formula 1] and if you’re doing another championship with the philosophy of fighting for wins I think it makes you a better performer. When you’re driving at the back you can be down. I think mentally it’s better [to do both championships].”