Sep.17 (GMM/ Roberto Merhi and Fabio Leimer on Thursday are digesting the latest news out of the Manor team.

For Merhi, his race-by-race deal with the struggling backmarker comes to an end for now, as the Californian GP2 title-contender Alexander Rossi prepares to make his debut in Singapore.

Spaniard Merhi will only return to the car in Russia and Abu Dhabi, so that Rossi can conclude his fight for the GP2 championship.

“While Roberto is obviously disappointed, he understands that this decision is in the long-term interests of the team and we thank him for his professionalism,” said team boss John Booth.

The news is also a blow to the Swiss driver Leimer, who had been serving as reserve driver and hoping to step into the race seat soon.

Manor said: “Roberto Merhi will join Fabio Leimer as an official reserve driver but he (Merhi) will drive in Sochi and at Yas Marina.”

Roger Benoit, the correspondent for the Swiss newspaper Blick, said the news is a “slap in the face for Leimer”, but he might still stand a chance of a seat for 2016.

Booth said: “No decision has been made regarding our 2016 driver lineup and we will continue to evaluate our options during the remainder of the season.”