Roberto Merhi: “P15 a huge reward for a fantastic effort”


The Manor F1 Team achieved their first finish of the season at their first attempt, with Roberto Merhi completing the Malaysian Grand Prix in fifteenth position. Unfortunately team-mate Will Stevens was unable to take to the start following the teams failure to fix the fuel system that saw him miss qualifying.

Merhi finally made his Formula 1 debut in Malaysia, and stayed out of trouble to finish fifteenth, albeit three laps behind, but admitted his pride for the team for what they’ve achieved to get to this point.

“I’m so happy for the team,” insisted Merhi. “P15 is not only a great result from today’s race, but also a huge reward for a fantastic effort over the past few months. I’m really proud of us.

“Coming into the weekend we knew things would not be easy; we had to work very hard and stay focused every step of the way. We missed out on some of our targets but in the end it was the race that mattered and we brought the car home with a full race distance.

“That was my main objective, as the information we now have is so important for our development, but it’s good to know that we got a good result along the way and finished ahead of some of the other teams.

“I’m sorry for Will that he was unable to race today but we have a very good starting point for us both to work from in China and beyond. My thanks to the whole team for a really positive weekend.”

Team-mate Stevens was naturally disappointed to not start the race, having seen the teams efforts to fix the fuel system problem come to an unsuccessful conclusion, but the Briton congratulated the team for getting Merhi to the end of the race.

“Obviously I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to race today,” reflected Stevens. “We pushed as hard as possible all weekend and there are quite a few positives that I can take away from Malaysia, including the promising pace in free practice.

“We’ll work on that for China, but for now my congratulations to the whole team on completing our first race distance. It’s a fantastic reward for all the hard work of the last few months.”

Team Principal John Booth was understandably delighted to see Merhi finish the race, especially with everything they had to do in such a short amount of time just to get onto the grid this season. He praised Merhi for his performance, but was disappointed to see Stevens forced to watch the race from the sidelines.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to see the chequered flag today,” insisted Booth. “We’ve had to overcome some massive hurdles in a very short space of time, so everyone is pretty emotional this afternoon because this result is just reward for an incredible amount of hard work and determination from a fantastic team of people.

“Roberto delivered the solid race performance we asked of him, and that will stand us in such good stead as we head to China. Let’s not forget that this is the first real data we’ve had to work with.

“Of course, we’re disappointed that we didn’t achieve that same objective with two cars and our apologies to Will that he was denied the chance to convert a positive start to the weekend into what I’m sure would have been a similarly strong race performance.

“We hope for better things for him in China in two weeks’ time. We still have a great deal of hard work ahead, so we’ll enjoy the moment and then get straight back to it tomorrow.”