Merhi set to keep Manor seat for Monaco

by Paul Hensby

Roberto Merhi is likely to remain with the Manor F1 Team for next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, but will miss the supporting Formula Renault 3.5 Series event at the circuit.

The Spaniard’s future has been up in the air, with Merhi having a race-by-race contract with Manor, but Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon does not expect the driver line-up to change before the team tackle the streets of Monaco.

“I don’t foresee any change at all,” said Lowdon to Autosport. “We have got a lot of work to do as a team to get the gaps closed.

“In the meantime the drivers have obviously got to perform and do their job. I don’t expect any changes.”

Although remaining in the Formula 1 seat for Monaco is good news for Merhi, it is not so good for his Pons Racing team in Formula Renault 3.5, with the team confirming he will not compete next weekend for them.

“We have all agreed that Roberto will do the F1 race with Manor,” said Pons Racing Team Principle Emilio de Villota to Autosport. “We do not know how long his F1 season will last, so he definitely needs to prioritise every F1 opportunity.

“In Spa [FR3.5 round three] he will be with Pons again and we will fight our way back to the front after a very disappointing start of the season.”

There has been no confirmation from Pons that they will replace Merhi for the round in Monaco, or just race as a one-car team with Indonesian Philo Paz Patric Armand.

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