sporting director Graeme Lowdon said:It has been announced today by the Manor F1 Team that they have denied that the arrival of Fabio Leimer could signal the end of Roberto Merhi’s racing days with the team.
The Manor F1 Team confirmed the signing of 2013 GP2 champion Leimer ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, leading to speculation that Merhi could be on his way out.
Merhi joined Manor at the start of the 2015 campaign with the team initially stating that he had been contracted for the “opening few races”, but seven races later he is still with the team. In his interview with the media today, sporting director Graeme Lowdon said the following about the subject:-
‘No, not at all. We’d been running without a reserve driver and although we have various arrangements in place to cover that situation, it’s better to have that sort of area covered with someone who’s with the team all the time.
‘These cars are so complex now, it’s not a case of just strapping someone in. So there are huge advantages to having a third driver and yes, you’re quite right, it keeps everyone honest and there’s no harm in that. These guys all know each other and feed off each other and the other thing is that with the way regulations are going it’s harder to find the right drivers with the right experience.’
From what Lowdon has stated in his interview today, he is happy to have signed Leimer while still allowing Merhi to continue driving for the team alongside Will Stevens. As he rightly says, every team needs a reserve driver and the Manor F1 team have a plan just in case anything happens (please god no) and you have to be prepared in the sport for anything that could happen.
But Lowdon believe that the line up the team have is good and believes that the line up has its advantages for all involved while they are starting to get to grips with the technical regulations and developing their current car. But overall, it is clear that Manor are happy with running Merhi and by denying the rumours that have been circulating about him only shows that they believe in him as a driver and that they have no intention of getting rid of him; and that is the end of the matter.