Merhi returns to Formula 2 seven years after last Formula 1 start

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Former Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi will return to Formula 2 this weekend, replacing Ralph Boschung at Campos.

Boschung has suffered a season disrupted by injury. He withdrew from the Barcelona and Monaco rounds without a replacement, returned for Baku but was forced to withdraw at Silverstone round last weekend with persistent neck pain.

At the age of 31 years and 109 days when the sprint race at the Red Bull Ring takes place on Saturday, Merhi will take the title of oldest ever F2 entrant from Sergio Canamasas. His fellow Spaniard last competed in Formula 2 during the Hungary round in 2017, and was 31 years and 91 days old when he made his final start.

Merhi returned to both GP2 and F2, intermittently, after his Formula 1 career ended after 2015. His last F2 outing was at Abu Dhabi in 2018, also for Campos.

In a message posted to social media, Merhi said: “Happy to announce that I will be back in a Formula 2 car this weekend after four years.

“Last time I was driving in a Formula 2 car was in 2018 in Abu Dhabi where I finished in the podium with Campos. I would like to thank Ralph Boschung and Campos for giving me the opportunity to drive his car this weekend. I hope he gets well soon!”

Merhi has competed in various serious since his last appearance in F2 four years ago. He placed second in Australia’s S5000 series last year, winning the second race at Sydney Motorsport Park.

He made three starts for G-Drive in the European Le Mans series at the wheel of an LMP2 car. He also raced at the Fuji and Suzuka rounds of Super GT this year, driving an Audi R8.

Merhi was involved in a controversial incident on a previous visit to the Red Bull Ring. He was excluded from the Formula Renault 3.5 event at the circuit in 2015 after he stopped by the start/finish line at the end of one race and was struck by Nicholas Latifi.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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14 comments on “Merhi returns to Formula 2 seven years after last Formula 1 start”

  1. I was surprised when I saw the title, but merely a substitution, after all.

  2. I’ll take his return as a sign that the well of funded juniors is running particularly dry ATM.

    1. @proesterchen I suspect it would be tough to get a front running F3 driver given it is tight at the top if the standings. No-one is going to take the risk of a distraction unless they don’t have a realistic championship shot.

  3. First F1 driver to return to a feeder series since…Giorgio Pantano???

    1. No, since himself, he already did this.

    2. Since Pantano, there have been several occurences.

      Gianmaria Bruni: F1 2004 then GP2 2005-06.
      Romain Grosjean: F1 2009 (7 races), then GP2 2010-11.
      Max Chilton: F1 2013-14 then Indy Lights 2015.
      Roberto Merhi: F1 2015 then GP2 2017-18.

      Not counting one-off appearances by Jack Aitken and Pietro Fittipaldi.

      1. Small correction: Bruni returned to GP2 the same year as Pantano (2005), not after.

  4. He placed second in Austria’ S5000 series last year

    As much as it would please me to see more international opportunities for open wheelers , I do believe the S5000 is a Tasman only series

  5. Oh come off it. Its a junior series!
    If a champion is excluded from going back, likewise should an F1 reject. Even the exceptions of Grosjean and Pantano getting short lived F1 drives at young ages and returning to F2/GP2, they were still young.
    I get that its a 1 off substitution (in theory) and I get that he’s probably the only one with the money to waste on this drive (half the problem), but its such a ridiculous situation for any team in this series to be in.

  6. Sergio Canamasas! now that’s a driver I had no trouble forgetting… my gosh what a nutcase!

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      8th July 2022, 21:39

      I’ll leave a mistery here. There was an article from a Brazilian blogger heavily criticising Canamasas – but some time later the article had vanished from the blog, just like Canamasas suddenly vanished from motorsport.
      Today, the blog itself vanished. I can imagine that Canamasas somehow tried to sue the blogger.

      Worst than Canamasas, I can only think of that Italian kart racer banned for life.

  7. Shame the team couldn’t do something more positive with this opportunity – give the reigning champion a race (probably good for Oscar, definitely good for the other drivers) – or, dare I suggest it, a top W Series driver?

    1. How dare you … This is money not racing .

  8. David barker
    7th July 2022, 20:46

    Graham Hill was racing f2 at Thruxton , 1972 age 43.

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