Merhi: Weight difference proving costly at Manor

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MONTMELO – Roberto Merhi believes that the weight difference between himself and Manor teammate Will Stevens has proven costly in the intra-team battle in the first four races of the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Merhi made his F1 debut in Malaysia for Manor, but is yet to beat Stevens when both drivers have finished a grand prix.

At the last race in Bahrain, Stevens led his teammate home by 44 seconds and took to Twitter to say how he had won the intra-team battle before concluding his tweet with “#44seconds”. It was soon deleted.

Speaking to NBCSN on Thursday ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Merhi spoke about the big weight difference to his teammate, and revealed that he is working hard to try and bring it down.

“Obviously I am quite heavy compared to Will because I am much taller,” the Spaniard explained. “I do a lot of running and cycling and everything to try and cut down.

“Obviously in Formula 1, the lower your weight is better for the engineers because they can put the weight of the car lower.”

When asked what the weight difference was, Merhi said: “Around 11 or 12 [kgs] I think? It’s a lot.

“I am trying to lose it because obviously in the Formula 1 car you have a power steering wheel, and it’s quite easy on the arms, but in the World Series car it’s really strong, the steering wheel, then you need good arms.

“In Formula 1, you don’t really need them. You need a good neck just for the g-force in the corners. Now I am doing more cardio than gym!”

Merhi enters this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix with hopes of cutting the gap to Stevens, and is relishing the prospect of racing on home soil for the first time in F1.

“I am really looking forward to it,” he said. “First time racing here at home is something really special for me because I live just 260km away from here.

It’s something special to be here with your fans coming here just to watch you in Fomrula 1. Since you are young you are waiting always for this day and it has come now.

“I hope to get a strong result here, better than the previous race, and I think it’s the right point to change the championship position and get it more higher.”