Merhi quits FR3.5 to focus on F1 commitments

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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.