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Merhi learned of Manor demotion in Singapore

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Manor driver Roberto Merhi was only told that he would not be racing in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix when he arrived in the city state on Monday.

On Wednesday, Manor confirmed that American driver Alexander Rossi would be replacing Merhi for five of the remaining seven Formula 1 grands prix in 2015, starting with Sunday’s race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Merhi has been demoted to the role of reserve driver for the time being, but will race in Russia and Abu Dhabi when Rossi returns to GP2 as he bids to finish the year as the series’ vice-champion.

Despite being dropped for the weekend, Merhi remained on the FIA roster for Thursday’s press conference, and revealed that he had only learned of his fate upon arrival in Singapore.

“I flew on Monday and when I arrived the team give me the news that I would not be driving and Rossi would be in my place for the four or five races of the remaining seven,” Merhi said.

The Spaniard remained grateful for the opportunity that Manor had given him in 2015, having only signed a race-by-race deal with the British minnows at the beginning of the season.

“At the beginning of the year when I came to Melbourne with Manor, they gave me a great chance to be part of the team and to be a driver of the team but for sure I didn’t know how long it was going to end up,” Merhi said.

“At least I did 12 races, that is really good, I think, for a driver in Formula 1 that is quite difficult. And they gave me a good chance to be there in the car for 12 races and I want to say thank you for them but obviously I think they have taken a decision that is better for the team in a long-term result.

“We hope that I am still competitive for the last two races I have this year and I will try to prepare now all the weekends that I go together with the team, from now to the end of the year, and try to improve and learn as much as I can, to get ready for the race in Sochi and in Abu Dhabi.”

Merhi has now turned his attention to securing a seat in F1 for 2016, but admitted that securing a budget to claim a place on the grid would be difficult.

“For next season, we still don’t know yet,” Merhi said. “We are looking for a Formula 1 seat and we will try to find the best option possible but obviously these days I think a budget is really important and at the moment it’s hard to find.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.