Roberto Merhi has stepped down from his role with Pons Racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series in order to focus on his commitments with Manor Marussia F1 Team in Formula 1.
Merhi joined Manor for the 2015 F1 season on a race-by-race deal, and opted to balance this with Formula Renault 3.5 to remain competitive and fight for the championship.
The Spaniard missed Formula Renault 3.5 rounds in Monaco and Silverstone due to clashes with F1, and was excluded from the classification for both races in Austria for causing a collision after the checkered flag.
With three rounds remaining, Merhi has opted to call time on his Formula Renault 3.5 programme with Pons, making way for former GP2 driver Rene Binder.
“Pons Racing is proud to announce that Rene Binder will be driving one of the team’s Gibson-powered Dallara cars in the seventh round of the World Series Renault 3.5, scheduled for this weekend at the German Nurburgring track,” a statement from the team read.
“The 23-year-old Austrian has been a consistent feature in the GP2 Series since the mid part of the 2012 season, while he also captured great results in the German Formula 3 series in the past.
“Binder is set to replace Spaniard Roberto Merhi, who decided to stop his Formula Renault 3.5 program due to the clashing commitments in the Formula One World Championship.”
Of the three remaining rounds, the round at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit clashed with the Japanese Grand Prix, but Merhi would have been available to race at the Nurburgring and in Jerez.
Defending MotoGP series champion Marc Marquez underwent a second surgery Monday after a titanium plate inserted in his fractured right arm sustained damage. The Repsol Honda Team said in a statement that it’ll be two days before the recovery period is determined.
Marquez was injured during a crash in the July 19 season opener. He underwent an initial surgery July 21 in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage.
The eight-time champion was cleared to race in the season’s second event Jerez. But Marquez decided to skip the July 26 race after experiencing discomfort while riding the No. 93 bike in a July 25 practice.
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He had planned to race in Sunday’s grand prix at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic in hopes of returning to defend his title. His status for Sunday apparently will be unclear until at least Wednesday.
In a statement Monday, the team said the titanium plate in Marquez’s right arm successfully was replaced after stress accumulation. Marquez will stay in the hospital for two days recovering.
Dr Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus, said in the release that “Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation.
“The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an overstress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”