Oct.9 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Roberto Merhi says he has not given up on remaining in F1 next year, even though four drivers are clamouring at the two seats at Manor.
The Spaniard is back at the wheel for Sochi, but that is only because new paying driver Californian Alexander Rossi has reverted back to his GP2 title fight for a weekend.
“We are fighting to try to get a seat, a competitive seat, for next season,” Merhi told Cadena Ser radio ahead of the Russian grand prix.
That competitive seat could actually be at Manor, as the British backmarker is switching from year-old Ferrari power to the title-winning Mercedes unit, and support from the Williams team, for 2016.
The problem is that also keen to stay at Manor is Will Stevens, while the new engine deal looks set to deliver a race seat to Mercedes reserve Pascal Wehrlein.
Merhi is therefore looking elsewhere as well.
“There are two teams interested in having me,” he said. “It seems that both teams are pretty good but you have to bring sponsors.”
But he says the good news is that “Instead of asking what they would ask another driver, which would be double (the sponsorship) or even more, they ask me for half.
“But even to find that is difficult — it is still a lot of money,” said Merhi.
He said that if he cannot find a race seat in F1, he would not settle for a test or reserve post and would look for opportunities at “Le Mans and Indycar” instead.
Still, he is happy with what he managed to achieve in 2015 — a race seat in F1 for most of a season without bringing a single dollar in backing.
“In a team like ours you need financial resources, as to do otherwise is virtually impossible, if not completely impossible. I think what we did is completely new in recent years in formula one,” said Merhi.
“I think it was a miracle to be here for all these races without a sponsor.”