Roberto Merhi to race for Manor F1 team in Australian Grand Prix

Roberto Merhi will race for the Manor Formula 1 team in this weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, partnering fellow Formula Renault 3.5 race winner Will Stevens

Roberto Merhi to race for Manor F1 team in Australian Grand Prix

The Spaniard, who got his first taste of GP weekend running with three free practice outings for Caterham late last year, has signed a short-term deal with the former Marussia team for the "opening races" of the 2015 season.

"Today, finally, I can announce something that I have dreamed of many times - not just free practice, but a full grand prix," said Merhi, who raced for John Booth's Manor squad in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2009.

"It's time to thank many people who spent years helping me learn, and of course the Manor team - old friends who have trusted me to start this new phase which I hope will bring them success.

"We will not have the means to fight the other teams on equal terms, using a 2014 car and power unit, but we will give our best."

Merhi is currently slated to race for the Pons team in FR3.5 this year, but he hopes that he can use his F1 race debut as a launchpad to secure a full-season drive with Manor.

"I hope that this event will open the opportunity to race again during the season," he said.

"I need a sponsor if I want to continue, but unfortunately in Spain I'm not finding support.

"Hopefully this will help me change this situation and face the future with more confidence."

Manor also announced on Tuesday morning in Australia that Jordan King, son of Manor interim chairman Justin King, has become the team's development driver.

2015 F1 ENTRY LIST

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg
(Reserve: Pascal Wehrlein)

Red Bull-Renault
Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat
(Reserve: Sebastien Buemi)

Williams-Mercedes
Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa
(Test/reserves: Susie Wolff, Alex Lynn)

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen
(Test/reserves: Esteban Gutierrez, Jean-Eric Vergne)

McLaren-Honda
Fernando Alonso*, Jenson Button
(Reserve: Kevin Magnussen*)

Force India-Mercedes
Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez

Toro Rosso-Renault
Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr

Lotus-Mercedes
Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado
(Test/reserves: Jolyon Palmer, Carmen Jorda)

Manor-Ferrari
Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi**
(Reserve: Jordan King)

Sauber-Ferrari
Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr
(Reserve: Raffaele Marciello)

* Magnussen will stand in for Alonso in Australian GP
** Merhi's deal is for "opening races"

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