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2015 F1

Merhi may not keep Manor race seat

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Manor has completed the Melbourne grid by signing Spanish rookie Roberto Merhi.

Before the official announcement, it emerged in the Spanish press that the former Marussia team had applied to the FIA for a super licence for the 23-year-old.

Merhi has travelled to Australia for his grand prix debut this weekend, but his manager Mark Blundell said he is confirmed only for the “opening rounds” of 2015.

Spanish media reports suggest higher-paying drivers might be in the running later this year, such as Giedo van der Garde, who is currently fighting Sauber in the courts for the right to race in Melbourne.

“I drove for them (Manor) in formula 3 and I called them directly,” Merhi told El Confidencial.

“I have no money and I know that Manor are looking for someone with a good budget,” he admitted.

Other candidates are also in the running, including Jordan King, the son of new Manor advisor Justin King, the former Sainsbury’s chief.

21-year-old King has been signed as a “development driver” for 2015.

Also linked with the Manor race seat are Fabio Leimer, the McLaren-linked Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne, and Ferrari testers Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne. (GMM)

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