Manor driver Roberto Merhi has defended his decision to race in both Formula 1 and Formula Renault 3.5 in 2015, saying that he needs to take part in a series where he can be competitive and fight at the front of the field.
Merhi came close to making his F1 debut with Caterham in 2014 when he joined the team in a test role, but opted to return to Formula Renault 3.5 for 2015 after the British team collapsed following months of financial uncertainty.
Despite signing a deal with Pons Racing in the series that he finished third in last season, Merhi was signed by Manor Marussia F1 Team in a last-minute deal following the team’s remarkable revival following a difficult winter that saw most of its assets be sold.
The Spaniard made his full F1 debut at the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend, but had to fly to Spain straight after to race to test his Formula Renault 3.5 car at Motorland Aragon for Pons.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, Merhi defended his decision to race in both series this year, believing it to be important that he can race in a championship where he can compete at the front of the field.
“Half and half,” Merhi said when asked which championship was more important for him in 2015.
“It is important to win a world title such as Formula Renault 3.5. It’s good to get experience in Formula 1, but also combine it with a championship where you have rivalries.”
Merhi is known to be a on a race-by-race contract with Manor, but told Marca that he is confident he will be racing in both the Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix this month unless he hears otherwise.
“I’m not waiting for news,” Merhi said. “If you do not tell me anything, I’ll be the one to run in China and Bahrain.”