Ex-F1 driver Roberto Merhi splits with MP Formula 2 team

Ex-Manor Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi has parted ways with Formula 2 team MP Motorsport, with Dorian Boccolacci taking his vacant seat this weekend at Spa

Merhi has starred in races with mixed conditions this year, but MP has struggled for qualifying form and the 27-year-old lies 11th in the points despite a number of notable drives through the field.

He scored a podium in Monaco, and another at Paul Ricard before he was disqualified for a tyre pressure-related offence.

Former Lotus junior Boccolacci has impressed at times in GP3 this season, taking MP's first win in the series at Paul Ricard in June before a faulty fuel seal meant his car would not produce enough fuel for a scrutineers sample and he was disqualified. He made up for that by winning the Hungaroring Sunday race last month.

"I'm grasping this opportunity with both hands," said Boccolacci.

"Being promoted to F2 halfway into my second season in GP3 is a sign of confidence by MP Motorsport, a team with which I have gelled really well."

The Frenchman is seventh in the GP3 points and becomes the second driver to graduate from the championship to F2 following Alessio Lorandi's step up to Trident in which he replaced the banned and dropped Haas F1 junior Santino Ferrucci.

MP team manager Sandor Dorsman said Boccolacci had "been outstanding" for the squad in GP3.

Formula Renault Eurocup regular Richard Verschoor will replace Boccolacci in MP's GP3 line-up.

Verschoor is 11th in the Eurocup points with Josef Kaufmann Racing, after switching to that team from MP for this season. Verschoor was dropped by Red Bull at the end of 2017.

He becomes the sixth driver to race for MP in GP3 this year.

Christian Lundgaard - second in the Formula Renault Eurocup standings - competed in a one-off at Paul Ricard in place of Will Palmer, who decided to focus on his university work placement after the first round of the season at Barcelona.

After Lundgaard it was then announced that ex-European Formula 3 racer Devlin DeFrancesco would take the seat. He was ill for Hungaroring and was not replaced, but is set to return at Spa.

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