Merhi still hopeful of 2016 F1 chance

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Roberto Merhi has not given up all hope yet to be in Formula One in 2016, but admits that returning to Manor remains a long shot.

Merhi made his series debut with the small British outfit last year, though his initial contract reportedly was only for the opening four flyaway races. The 24-year-old nonetheless managed to keep his seat until the Singapore Grand Prix where he was dropped in favour of Alexander Rossi.

Merhi did return to the cockpit of his MR03B twice, as the US racer had clashing commitments with GP2 Series in Russia and Abu Dhabi.

Manor, which recently underwent a rebranding, remains the only F1 outfit that has yet to confirm its 2016 driver line-up. Besides Rossi and Merhi’s team-mate Will Stevens, potential candidates include Rio Haryanto and former McLaren-Honda reserve driver Kevin Magnussen, as well as DTM champion and Mercedes F1 protégé Pascal Wehrlein.

Despite Merhi recently telling F1i that he expected a seat to be too expensive, Spanish publication El Confidential reports that he has been keeping race sharp over the winter.

“I have been swimming, running, cycling and in February I will do some karting”, Merhi said.

Asked whether he thought his F1 career had come to an end, he added: “The door is not entirely closed. We’re currently looking at a couple of options, but nothing concrete.”

Merhi previously said that he would be open to a reserve or test role but only at a top team, while also admitting interest in racing in IndyCar.

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