Merhi not ready to call time on F1 career

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Roberto Merhi says he will not hang up his helmet any time soon, as he returns to the Manor line-up for this weekend’s season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old made his Formula One debut with the small British outfit in Australia, although he had to wait until Sepang to actually turn a wheel in anger following Manor’s no-show at Melbourne.

Merhi had to step down to a reserve driver role following Alexander Rossi’s promotion in Singapore. With the US racer honouring his final GP2 Series commitment at Yas Marina Circuit, the Spaniard will be back in action for the first time since Sochi.

“I’m so excited to be back in the car this weekend for the season finale,” he said. “As any reserve driver will tell you, I really missed the racing; it will be a long time yet before I’m ready to hang up my racing gloves for a full-time career in TV commentary!

“I’ve kept a close eye on everything the team has been doing over the past five races, so I don’t think it will be too difficult to get back up to speed on Friday and see how I stand versus Will [Stevens]. I’ve missed the competitive spirit between us. The most important thing is to do the best job possible for the team on Sunday, and ensure we have a result to celebrate.

“It has been a long, hard season, so I want to say thank you for this opportunity and I hope I can deliver another strong performance to reward the faith the team has shown in me.”

Manor is the only team yet to confirm its 2016 line-up, with potential candidates including this year’s drivers Stevens, Merhi, and Rossi, but also Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein as well as Jordan King and Rio Haryanto, who will run for the Banbury-based squad in the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test.

Unfinished business: the scores still to be settled in Abu Dhabi

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