Merhi could focus on 3.5 title after Barcelona image

Apr.24 (GMM/ Roberto Merhi will contest the forthcoming Spanish grand prix.

That is the claim of the Spanish daily El Mundo Deportivo, reporting that Manor has now unofficially confirmed the news.

“Whether he stays beyond that will be decided after the race in Spain” next month, the newspaper added.

Part of the decision may be left up to the 24-year-old himself, after he expressed disappointment with his struggle to keep up with rivals at the wheel of the modified 2014 Marussia car.

Merhi is also expected to be a title contender in the Formula Renault 3.5 series this year, but the Monaco round next month clashes with the F1 race in the Principality.

“Merhi will have to decide what is best for his future,” said El Mundo Deportivo.

Merhi said this week: “Last year I fought for the (Formula Renault 3.5) title but I had technical problems, so I have decided to come back” this year.

“This time I will try to be the champion,” he added.

But the decision will also be Manor’s, as the struggling team has deliberately not signed a full season’s contract with Merhi as it seeks a driver with better funding.

It is rumoured Manor could substantially change its livery after Barcelona, perhaps to accommodate the colours of McGregor, the Dutch fashion label that backs Giedo van der Garde.