Roberto Merhi, Manor, Silverstone, 2015

Merhi discovered he wouldn’t be racing after arriving in Singapore

2015 Singapore Grand Prix

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Manor driver Roberto Merhi only learned he would not be racing in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix after arriving at the circuit.

He told reporters in Singapore the team notified him Alexander Rossi would be taking his place this weekend three days ago.

Roberto Merhi, Manor, Monza, 2015
Merhi will only do two more races for Manor this year
“I came here, I flew Monday and when I arrived the team give me the news that I would not be driving and Rossi would be in my place for five races of the seven remaining.”

Merhi said he will need to raise money in order to continue in F1. “For next season we still don’t know yet,” he said. “First of all we are looking for a Formula One seat and we will try to find the best option possible but obviously now in these days it’s really important the budget and at the moment it’s hard to find some budget.”

Merhi said he had always been unsure whether he would see out the season. “At the beginning of the year when I came to Melbourne with the team, with Manor, they gave me a great chance to be part of the team and to be a driver of the team,” he said. “But for sure I didn’t know how long it’s going to end up.”

“At least I did 12 races, that is really good I think for a driver in Formula One that is quite difficult. And they give me the good chance to be there in the car and I want to say thanks for them.”

“But obviously I think now they have to take a decision that is better for the team in a long-term result.”

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    36 comments on “Merhi discovered he wouldn’t be racing after arriving in Singapore”

    1. Looks like Rossi found some sponsorship quite suddenly then.

      1. You’ve got to wonder if it’s related to Haas wanting a “current” F1 driver but not having a huge number of options …

        1. Doesn’t exactly seem related to Haas. At least not directly. Good on Alex. I like his proactive response to Haas saying no American is fit for F1.

    2. Manor Marussia – keepin’ it classy.

      1. Even worse than that, the FIA still made him go to the press conference!

        What a bunch of muppets.

        1. Yeah that seemed a bit classless.

        2. That was painful.

    3. I’m happy for Rossi to get a shot, Feel its a bit overdue with some of the promises & opportunities he’s missed out on in the past but I feel quite sorry for Merhi as he’s been using an older chassis for most of the season & that older chassis is heavier than the one Will Steven’s has had.

      I’m not sure if he’s had a new, lighter chassis more recently but he’s performances have improved & he’s generally been matching, if not slightly faster than Will Stevens.

      1. Liam McShane (@)
        17th September 2015, 13:25

        They both have exactly the same chassis. Merhi is heavier than Stevens as a person, around 10KG or so.

    4. What an awful way to find out you’ve been replaced. A bit like turning up at the office and finding your desk already occupied . . .
      When would Manor have had to tell the race organisers or FIA about a change to their drivers? I know they can substitute later for reasons of ‘force majeur’ but this hardly reads like a case of that.

      1. I believe the deadline for driver changes is the Thursday before the race weekend.

        1. I thought it was Saturday before qualifying?

          1. Yeah, you’re right, sorry, I was thinking of the entry list for the start of the season! :P

    5. I wasn’t expecting Merhi to reach this point in the season, to be honest. I think Rossi would have been a slightly better option to begin with, but getting rid of Merhi now he’s had time to rack up experience and get to know the team, the car, the tracks, now he’s starting to improve, is pointless. Of course if it’s to get money into the team the debate ends here, if it’s to give Rossi experience for a full-time seat next year it’s understandable, if it’s just to go from one driver to another it’s pointless, again. Not that Manor will have much to fight for, but Rossi faces some challenge with Suzuka, Austin and Interlagos on his calendar, having only practised in his home circuit, and Merhi would have been the obvious decision to continue.

    6. And he even had to attend the press conference. Hahah poor guy.

    7. Why is Manor in Formula 1? Surely, not for “racing”….

      1. For surviving, and we should respect that. They may not be competitive, but they are there and they are trying to push.

        1. Ha! Wanna by some beachfront property in Leeds?

          1. Sounds like a nice idea! :)

      2. Thats the exact reason their in F1 and one of the few teams who want to race instead of profit or brand exposure.

      3. For money. Simple as. They’ve done NOTHING to improve themselves or F1 this season except, arguably, bringing in Rossi.

        1. F1 is not a profitable venture for a small team, especially with the sport’s current financial structure, so saying they’re merely racing for money is simply not true. And the very fact they’re even inside the 107% time every weekend is an impressive feat given that they couldn’t even get the cars running in Melbourne. They’ve basically had to start again from scratch and if they can secure a Mercedes engine deal for next year, there’s a possibility of them moving up the field a little bit. What were you expecting, points finishes every other weekend?

          1. that is why Manor have their hands out and are begging at the back of the grid. That is what this new formula is all about :) The future is now.

      4. Why is Manor in Formula 1? Surely, not for “racing”…

        If that’s so, they differ from the eight other teams who aren’t Mercedes only by degree.

      5. They are not racing ANYONE. So they cannot be there to race. All the other teams are racing against SOMEONE. Well, Mercedes don’t have anyone to race against either. But since they are at the head of the grid, they can only go backwards occasionally, so it makes enough wave to justify the farce called F1 for the moment.

    8. That’s cold. It’s bad management, from either parties.

    9. I think Manor’s management should have done better.

    10. I wonder if we get some sponsor announcement from the team tomorrow.

    11. Just another example F1 is a cut throat business.

    12. Manor took a lesson from “F1 drivers management for dummies” by Monisha K.

      1. I’m pretty sure she could learn a thing or two from them given their is no mention of a contract dispute or court case ruling, though until I hear a good reason they’ve allowed Merhi to show up in Singapore I think ethically this is just as bad.

    13. Obviously I’m sure the management would rather this hadn’t happened like this, but when you’re at the bottom you have to fight to survive.

      They’ve managed to cling on, get the odd decent sponsor (airbnb) and might secure Mercedes engines. I think its very hard to criticise them to be honest for something that is clearly a good deal financially for the team and a driver that let’s be honest, will definitely beat Will Stevens.

      1. Let’s be honest, I say ‘let’s be honest’ too much.

        1. Honestly, I appreciate the fact that your honest.

    14. It’s hard to see who answered to whose comment with this new configuration.

    15. And he just gave up his Formula Renault drive a week ago to concentrate on F1, sounds like some communication improvement is needed.

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