Merhi keeps options open amid Manor uncertainty
"Whatever happens, I thank Manor for giving me this opportunity"
Roberto Merhi is having to keep his options open even after making his grand prix debut on Sunday.
For now, the rookie Spaniard is part of the resurrected former Marussia team, Manor, having travelled to Australia and Malaysia in the race driver role.
After the troubles of Melbourne, Merhi finally made his F1 debut on Sunday, while teammate Will Stevens could not make the grid with a technical problem.
Merhi even made it to the chequered flag, but the modified 2014 car is a long way off the pace and the 24-year-old was lapped no fewer than three times.
He admitted that, by the time he saw the chequer, he was sick of the constantly waving and flashing blue flags and lights.
"I was wishing that, instead of having to let cars past, I could fight them, because at the moment Manor does not have sufficient means to do so," he is quoted by Spanish media.
According to El Mundo Deportivo newspaper, Merhi then went straight from a post-race shower to the Kuala Lumpur airport, to catch a flight back to Spain.
His next, immediate outing will be at the Aragon circuit, where his Formula Renault 3.5 team Pons is testing.
Merhi is under contract for the whole ’World Series’ season in 2015, despite some clashes with the F1 schedule.
He knows that if a better funded ’pay driver’ steps up to claim his seat at Manor, the struggling backmarker will have to replace him.
"After the test at Motorland (Aragon)," said Merhi, "hopefully the team (Manor) will trust in me again for the Chinese grand prix.
"Whatever happens, I thank Manor for giving me this opportunity to fulfil my dream."