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Merhi hopes to impress Mahindra enough for 2023-24 seat

Roberto Merhi is hoping to impress Mahindra enough to land a full-time Formula E seat next season after being confirmed for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign.

Roberto Merhi, Mahindra Racing

The ex-Formula 1 racer was drafted in to join Mahindra ahead of last month’s Jakarta round, in place of Oliver Rowland, and was kept on for the following race in Portland.

Now the Indian manufacturer has confirmed Merhi will remain on board alongside Lucas di Grassi for the remaining double-headers of 2022-23 in Rome and London.

Speaking at Portland, Merhi said he was hopeful of making a strong impression on Mahindra for the rest of the season as he bids to become a permanent Formula E presence.

“It’s a great opportunity to show what I can do,” he told Autosport.” I will try to learn as much as possible and hopefully, I can stay with the team for a long time. 

“To be honest, I was pretty lucky to get the opportunity to drive in Jakarta. It was very hard to jump in the car in the middle of the season when everybody else has all the experience, after only an hour and a half of driving in Berlin [in the rookie test]. 

“But I think I made a big step forward on Sunday in Jakarta and I think my sector times in qualifying were pretty ok compared to Lucas, I just lost some time with a mistake on my fastest lap.”

Merhi finished 18th and 17th in the two Jakarta races but was running ahead of di Grassi in Portland when he suffered a suspected battery failure that put him out of contention in the early stages of the race.

 

Following his call-up to Mahindra, Merhi was forced to skip a round of his regular campaign in Super GT, where he drives for the Team LeMans Audi squad in the GT300 class.

But Merhi says he has no intention of giving up his seat in the Japanese series and wants to combine Super GT with Formula E moving forward.

“I am having a lot of fun in Super GT and it’s something I want to keep doing as well,” he said. “I want to keep doing both series.

“They are two completely different styles of racing. I like Japan as a place, and if I can do both, it would be perfect.”

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Mahindra has also announced that reserve driver Jehan Daruvala will join the team for the practice session at Rome reserved for rookie drivers.

It's thought that Daruvala was initially the team’s first choice to replace Rowland, but a clash with the Indian’s Formula 2 commitments prevented him from taking up the seat.

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